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J] 1906 L 

Copyright 1906 




I have had in mind for several years to write and publish 
a history of Mercer County and its people, but finding on re- 
search and investigation that the settlement of the territory 
thereof and incidents connected with the life of its people are 
so interwoven with that of the people who first crowned and 
crossed the Alleghanies and made settlements on and along 
the upper waters of the Clinch, Sandy, Guyandotte, Coal, and 
other rivers and streams, that it will be necessary to broaden 
the scope of the work beyond what was at first intended. 

Mercer County as originally created, and as it now exists, 
embraces territory which was formerly a part of that vast do- 
main known as Augusta, later, and in succession, Botetourt„ 
Fincastle, Montgomery, Greenbrier, Wythe, Monroe, Tazewell^ 
and Giles Counties. 

The early history of the County, and that of its settlers and 
people, is largely common all those who occupy the territory 
referred to. 

Their long sufferings, dangerous encounters with the wild 
beasts and the savages, their patient endurance, their history 
during and after the close of the war between the States, their 
manly and heroic efforts to restore and reestablish their rights 
as citizens of a free Republic, not less renowned than their 
chivalric deeds in war, deserve a place in the annals of history 
to be handed down to succeeding generations, as examples of 
valor, heroism and fortitude worthy of emulation. 

The desire usually possessed by civilized men to learn the 
history and character of their ancestors, who they were, and 

whence they came, excites regret that this history is the more 
often involved in obscurity; no one has tliought it necessary 
to keep a correct record of the family. 

Tradition alone, depended upon to supply the place of re- 
corded facts, is often so obscured by the efflux of time and 
other causes, that it cannot always be relied upon as a safe 
guide to truth. Yet when tradition and known facts are 
closely coupled together, the former is greatly strengthened 
and becomes much more reliable. 

Our ancestors who came across the mountains from the 
East and settled upon the Western waters were not, as a rule, 
college bred people ; in fact, most of them had had few advant- 
ages along this line. They came bringing with them all their 
world's goods of w^hich they were possessed, consisting usually 
of a horse or two, a cow, rifle gun, a dog, and such an amount 
of household furniture as could be carried on horses. 

It is important as well as a matter of interest, that the deeds 
of heroism, and the dangers to which they were exposed, as 
well as the sufferings of those who won and redeemed this 
great wilderness country from the Savages and the wild beast 
should be truthfully written. Already the time is here when 
the names of many of our ancestors who felled the forests, 
stood on the frontier, risked their lives, and endured untold 
hardships, have been forgotten. Their names should, as far 
as possible, be rescued from the obliteration of time and their 
illustrious deeds recorded upon the pages of history, lest they 
be forgotten or left to be preserved only in the indistinct memo- 
rials of tradition. 

With this view and to this end, the author has undertaken, 
with the best lights and information obtainable by him, gath- 
ered from the most reliable sources attainable, to record the 
history of these people. It cannot and will not of necessity 
be full and accurate, and much that would be of great interest 

to those of the later generation has been lost and cannot be 

No attempt will be made to give a particular history of all 
the settlers of the New Kiver Valley, or of the territory re- 
ferred to, but will be confined to that portion of the said terri- 
tory in which the first settlements were made along the Middle- 
New River and contiguous territory, and to record local inci- 
dents, coupling therewith biographical sketches of families. 

David E. Johnston. 

Bluefield, W. Va., 1905. 

Middle New River Settlements. 


Vast unexplored domain West of the Alleghanies — Crowning 
and Crossing the same — First White Man to see New 
River — First White Man West of this River — Origin of 
Name — Porter Settles at Mouth of East River — Salley, 
Howards and St. Clair on Middle-Lower New River — 
Clinche and Castle in Clinch Valley prior to 1748 — Thom- 
as Walker and party cross New River, 1748 — Same year 
Draper's Ingles' settlement made — Adam Harman at Gun- 
powder Spring — 1750 Dr. Thomas Walker and others on 
the Holstein and at Cumberland Gap — Christopher Gist 
on the Ohio and visits Mountain Lake — Philip Lybrook 
settles at Mouth of Sinking Creek — John Lewis and his 
son Andrew on the Greenbrier — James Burke discovers 
Burke's Garden — Samuel Culbertson on Culbertson's Bot- 
tom — Thomas Farley on New River — Builds a fort — James 
Ellison born in Farley's Fort — French and Indian War — 
Washington on the Ohio — Indian Depredations. 

The country embraced by the New River Valley belonged, 
at the time the first settlements were made therein by white 
people, to that vast unknown domain in Augusta County, be- 
yond the Alleghanies, which was sometimes erroneously called 
"West Augusta," stretching from the top of the Alleghanies 
Westward to the Mississippi River — if not to the uttermost 

The country at the time mentioned was a vast unexplored 
wilderness about which the people East of the Alleghanies had 
very vague and indefinite ideas. Immediately in and near this 

8 New River Settlements 

valley, about or a little before tlie white people came, the Can- 
awhay tribe of Indians occupied the valley and plateau, now 
in Carroll and Floyd Counties, Virginia, and from the name 
of which tribe of Indians, the New and Kanawha Rivers took 
the name of Kanawha. 

Where or when the upper part of this same river came to be 
called New River is not altogether agreed. The late Capt. 
Charles R. Boyd, upon the authority of Judge David McComas, 
says it was an Indian name meaning "New Water." Hardesty 
in his geographical history, says that "Captain Byrd, who had 
been employed in 1764 to open a road from the James River to 
where the town of Abingdon now stands, probably using Jef- 
ferson's map of Virginia engraved in France in 1755, and on 
which this river did not appear, named it New River. The 
late Major Jed Hotchkiss of Staunton, Virginia, attributed 
the name to a man by the name "New," who at an early day 
kept a ferry at or near where "Ingle's Ferry" was afterwards 

The first white man who is supposed to have entered this 
valley, was Colonel Abraham Wood in 1654. Wood lived at 
the Falls of the Appomatox near where the present city of 
Petersburg, Virginia, now stands, and being, as said, of an 
adventurous turn of mind, obtained from the Government au- 
thority to open trade with the Western Indians. It is sup- 
posed, in fact stated, that Colonel Wood came over the Alle- 
ghanies at a place now and long known and called Wood's 
Gap in the present county of Floyd, and passed down Little 
river to the river now known as New River, and seeing a river 
flowing in a different direction from those up the course of 
which he had just traveled, he took it to be a new river and 
gave to it his own name "Wood's River," and it so appears 
on some of the oldest maps of Virginia. 

So far as known, between the date of the discovery of this 
river by Colonel Wood, Captain Henry Batte in 1666, Thomas 
Batte and party in 1671, John Sailing who was captured by the 
Indians and carried over this river to the West thereof in 


1730, Salley, the Howards and St. Clair in 1742, Dr. Thomas 
(3) Walker, and his parties in 1748-1750, are the only white 
men that had seen or crossed New River, or penetrated this 
vast wilderness country prior to 1748, unless it were the three 
men whose names are hereinafter mentioned. 

It is now more than a century and a half since the first 
white settlement was made in the New River Valley. It has 
been claimed, in fact conceded, that the first white settlement 
was made in the year of 1748 by Ingles, Drapers and others 
near where Blacksburg, in Montgomery county, Virginia, now 
stands, but this claim is now and has been for many years 
disputed and upon an investigation it appears from discover- 
ies made at the mouth of East River at its junction with New 
River in Giles County, Virginia, that in the year of 1780, when 
Mr. John Toney (1) and his family, from Buckingham County, 
Virginia, settled at that place, they found the decayed re- 
mains of a cabin and evidences that some of the land around 
the same had been cleared, and nearby they found a grave with 
a rough stone at the head, on which was engraved, "Mary 
Porter was killed by the Indians November 28, 1742. (2) "Then 
followed something respecting Mr. Porter, but the crumbling 
away of the stone during the century and a half which has 
elapsed since its erection, has rendered it illegible." — Hardes- 
ty's Geographical His. 405. 

This Ingles-Draper settlement was called "Draper's Mead- 
ows," but we are told that the name was changed by Colonel 
William Preston to "Smithfield," in honor of his wife, who 
was a Miss Smith of Louisa County, Virginia. 

While the "Draper's Meadows" settlement was not made 
directly on the New River, it was not far away and the drain- 
age of the waters in the vicinity is into this river. 

(1). Built the brick dwelling house at mouth of East River, the 
first brick house built in Giles County. 

(2). This stone with engraving thereon often seen by Dr. Phillip H. 
Killey and Mr. G. W. Toney. 

(3). Upon the authority of Haywood, Vaughan of Amelia County, 
Va., with a number of Indian traders crossed New River about Ingle's 
ferry in 1740. 

10 New River Settlements 

Adam Harman, who came with the Ingles, Drapers and 
others from Pattonsburg, in the Virginia Valley, shortly after 
the planting of the Colony, located, probably in the Spring 
of 1749, on New River at the place now known as Eggleston's 
Springs, but called by the early settlers "Gunpowder Spring," 
from the resemblance of its odor and taste to that of gun 
powder. This settlement of Harman, save that of Porter at 
the mouth of East River, is believed to be the oldest settlement 
made by white people in what is now the territory of Giles 

Philip Lybrook, from Pennsylvania, but most likely born in 
Holland, and of whom we shall have occasion to hereafter 
speak, settled at the mouth of Sinking Creek on the New River, 
a short distance below Harman's settlement, about 1750. It is 
not believed that Lybrook, the correct spelling of whose name 
in his native tongue is "Leibroch," came with the Drapers 
Meadows settlers, but subsequently. His was the third settle- 
ment made by the whites in what is now Giles County. 

It was upon Harman at Gunpowder Spring in April, 1749, 
that the Indians committed depredations by stealing his fur 
skins, but they remained peaceable and quiet until the break- 
ing out of the French and Indian war in the year of 1753, 
which continued on the border for more than ten years. 

It seems that Harman suspected a man by the name of Cas- 
tle as being in league with and as prompting the Indians to 
steal his fur skins. Castle was at the time on a hunting expe- 
dition with the Indians, who were now friendly, in what is now 
called Clastleswoods on the Clinch River in the Western por- 
tion of the now County of Russell. Harman obtained from a 
magistrate of Augusta County a warrant for the arrest of 
Castle, and with a posse, among them a large, stout, athletic 
man by the name of Clinche, who had been a hunter in that 
section, he set out to accomplish his purpose, but met with seri- 
ous resistance from Castle and the Indians with whom he was 
engaged in hunting, and forced to beat a retreat, in which his 

1654-1753 11 

man Clinche was thrown from his horse in crossing tlie river. 
Being a lame man from an attack of white swelling, the In- 
dians supposing him disabled from the fall, one of them dashed 
into the river and seized him, but the great, strong man was an 
over match for his Indian enemy, and succeeded in drowning 
him, hence the name ''Clinche River" was given, as the story 
goes. Dr. Thomas Walker in his journal kept of his journey 
to and through Cumberland Gap and return in 1750, says: 
"Clinche River was named for a hunter whose name was 
Clinche." It therefore seems altogether probable that, except 
Sailing, Porter, Castle and Clinche were the first white men to 
cross the Middle-New River and to explore the territory West 
thereof. It is stated upon the authority of Mr. Virgil A. Lewis 
in his recent history, as well as by others, that in 1742, Salley, 
the Howards and St. Clair crossed the New River below the 
mouth of Greenbrier and passed over on to Coal River, to 
which they gave that name. 

In the year of 1748 Dr. Thomas Walker, of Albemarle Coun- 
ty, Colonel James Patton, Colonel John Buchanan, Colonel 
James Wood and Major Charles Campbell, from the neighbor- 
hood of Pattonsburg, on the James River, made an excursion 
into what is now known as Southwestern Virginia. The pre- 
cise route this party traveled after leaving the New River, or 
how far they went Westward, seems to be left in doubt. This 
trip must not be confused with Dr. Walker's second one across 
the New River westward through Cumberland Gap and into 
Kentucky in 1750, in which his companions were Ambrose 
Powell, William Tomlinson, Colby Chew, Henry Lawless and 
John Hughes. This party on this trip in 1750 gave names, in 
some instances their own, to several mountains and streams, 
and on their return home came by way of the site of the pres- 
ent city of Pocahontas, Virginia, and along the Bluestone 
and Flat Top mountains near the present town of Hinton, and 
thence up the Greenbrier. See Appendix to "His. South- 
west Virginia," by Summers. 

From sketches taken from the diary of Dr. Walker and pub- 

12 New Kiver Settlements 

lished by Major Jed Hotchkiss some years ago, it appears that 
Dr. Walker was the first white man to discover the great coal 
deposit in the Flat Top region. In his dairy he says that near 
the mouth of a small creek at the base of a mountain he dis- 
covered a large bed of stone coal lying to the nortli and north- 

As already stated the Drapers Meadows settlement was 
made in 1748. Whether the settlers made this location prior to 
Dr. Walker's first journey across New River or after his re- 
turn, does not certainly apj^ear, but it is evident that some of 
the parties who established themselves here must have had 
some knowledge of the country before the date of settlement. 

In 1750-1751 Christopher Gist, the employee of the Ohio 
Company, explored the country west of New River through a 
portion of Kentucky, returning through what is now Wise 
County, Virginia, giving his name to a river now in that 
County, as well also as a station, moving east along the water- 
shed dividing the Clinch, Sandy and the Bluestone, he passed 
through the territory of what is now the County of Mercer, 
crossing New River about eight miles above the mouth of 
Bluestone, and not far below the lower part of Culbertson's- 
Crump's Bottom, now in Summers County, and on the 11th 
day of May discovered on top of a very high mountain a lake 
or pond about three-fourths of a mile long, northeast and 
southwest, and one-fourth of a mile wide, which is supposed to 
be what is now known as Mountain Lake, in Giles County, Vir- 
ginia. — ''His. So. W. Va./' Summers. 

If tradition well authenticated is to be taken when support- 
ed by well attested evidence, then Christopher Gist never saw 
Mountain Lake in Giles County. (1) The earliest settlers in 
the vicinity of the lake and who lived longest, left the unbro- 
ken tradition that when they first knew the place where the 
lake now exists tliere was a deep depression between the moun- 
tains into which flowed the water from one or more springs 

(1). If Gist really saw this lake in 1751, then it is evident that 
water had escaped before 17G8. 

1654-1753 13 

which found its outlet at the northeastern portion of the de- 
pression, and in this gorge or depression was a favorite salting 
ground in which the settlers salted their cattle by whose con- 
tinual tramping the crevices through which the water from the 
springs found an escape, became closed and the depression be- 
gan to fill with water. This filling began in 1804 and by 1818 
the water in the depression had risen to about one-half its 
present height. 

Kerchival in his "History of the Valley," at page 343 gives 
a conversation had by him in the year of 1836 with Colonel 
Christian Snidow and John Lybrook, which fully substantiates 
the statement above made, that the lake did not exist when the 
first settlers knew the place. To reconcile this statement with 
that of Gist it is fair to presume that after he saw this lake in 
1751, the water had escaped through the crevices of the rocks 
and had disappeared before Snidow, Lybrook, and others saw 
it in about 1768, and that afterwards it repeated the process 
of refilling. It is reputed to be rapidly receding, having fall- 
en several feet within the past two years. 

In 1753, Andrew Culbertson settled on New River on what 
has been known since his settlement as Culbertson's, or 
Crump's Bottom, now in Summers County, formerly a part 
of the territory of Mercer County. This was the first white 
settlement made within the boundaries of Mercer County. 

Andrew Culbertson, who lived in Pennsylvania, near to or 
where the town of Chambersburg is now situate, was compell- 
ed on account of the breaking out of the French and Indian 
war and fear of Indians to leave his land. He sold his claim 
to Samuel Culbertson, perhaps his brother. The country for 
some years was so infested with Indians from northwest of 
the Ohio, that the property appeared to be deserted and aban- 
doned and in fact was. In the meantime other persons began 
to assert claim to the land, until finally the claims of all be- 
came vested in Thomas Farley who in March, 1775, procured 
the land to be surveyed, took a certificate thereof in order to 
obtain a grant from the Virginia Land OfiQce, then expected 

14 New River Settlements 

to be shortly opened, and then assigned his right to James 
Biirnsides. (Byrnside.) 

Long litigation followed over the right and ownership to 
this land or a part thereof between the Culbertsons, Reid, and 
Byrnside. — Wythe's Chancery Reports, 150. 

Thomas Farley from Albemarle County, Virginia, came to 
New River Valley shortly after the coming of Culbertson and 
immediately on locating on the land referred to, erected a 
fort near the lower portion of the bottom on the south bank 
of the river, near what is known as "Warford." (1) 

This fort was known as Farley's and in which James Ellison, 
whose father came from the State of New Jersey, was born in 
May, 1778. The father of James Ellison was in the battle of 
Point Pleasant, and after his return to his home on Culbert- 
son's Bottom, was on the 19th day of October, 1780, while at 
work about a corn crib, attacked by a party of seven or eight 
Indians, wounded in the shoulder, captured, and carried some 
fifteen miles, escaping the day after his capture. In 1774 a 
woman was killed on Culbertson's Bottom, by the Indians, and 
about the same time a man by the name of Shockley, on a hill 
above the bottom, which still bears the name of "Shockley's 
Hill." « 

The James Ellison spoken of, became a distinguished and 
successful Baptist minister, and was instrumental in planting 
a number of Baptist churches in this section, among them the 
Guyandotte Baptist church, in 1812, where Oceana, in Wyo- 
ming County, is now situated. He was the father of the late 
Matthew Ellison, of Beckley, West Virginia, and who was re- 
garded the most distinguished Baptist preacher in this section 
in his day. 

James Burke, who was one of the Drapers Meadows settlers, 
on a hunting exedition in 1753, wounded an elk and followed 
it through what is now called Henshue's Gap, into that beauti- 
ful body of magnificent land which has since borne the name of 

(1). Shortly after tlie opening of Dunmore's war in 1774, a fort was 
erected at the mouth of Joshua's Run, on Culbertson's Bottom, called 
Fort Field. 

1654-1753 15 

Burke's Garden, about which and the discoverer more will 
be said later on. The Indian (1) name for this beautiful land 
was "Great Swamp," 



Exploring the Mississippi Valley — French and Indian War — 
Washington on the Ohio — Virginia Raises Troops — Colo- 
nel Fry Sick and Command Devolves on Washington — 
Fort Necessity — General Braddock Defeated on the Mon- 
ongahela — Depredations on the Virginia Border — De- 
struction of Drapers Meadows Settlers — Mrs. Ingles a 
Prisoner — Philip Barger Killed — Mrs. Ingles Escapes — 
Captain William Ingles and Governor Dinwiddie plan an 
Expedition Against the Ohio Indians — ^Major Andrew 
Lewis Ordered to raise a force for the destruction of the 
Indian Towns on the Ohio — Lewis Marches in February, 
1756, Crosses New River, North Fork of the Holstein, 
through Burke's Garden, over the head of the Clinch and 
on to the Sandy — Vaux's Fort Destroyed — 1756 Settle- 
ments West of New River — Joseph Howe and Others on 
Back Creek West of New River, 1760 — Indian MaRiuding 
Party Near Ingle's Ferry Attacked by Ingles, Harman 
and Others — Captain Henry Harman, Adam Harman — 
Herrman — One Branch of the Family from North Caro- 
lina and the Other from Virginia Valley — New River 
Lead Mines Discovered by Colonel Chiswell — Indian In- 
cursion into Jackson's River, Roanoke and Catawba Set- 
tlements — Pack, Swope and Pitman on the New River — 
Captain Audley Paul on Lower New River in 1763 — ^Mas- 
sacres by Indians in Greenbrier Section in 1763 — Butler, 
Carr and Others, Hunters on head of Clinch, 1766 — This 
Year Family of John Snidow Settle at Mouth of Sinking 
Creek on the New River, 

The Mississippi Valley was first explored and settled by the 
French. They had a line of forts extending from New Orleans 

(1). When first seen by white men, contained a large number of 
acres of wet, marshy land, evidently once a lake. The waters flowing 
out of Burke's Garden are the head springs of Wolf Creek. 

16 New Riveu Settlements 

to Qneboc, one of whicli being Fort du Qiienne, where Pittsburg 
now stands. The English were jealous of these niovenienta, 
which jealousy at last ripened into open hostility, but before 
proceeding to open acts of war, the English sought to gain 
possession of the Western country by throwing a large white 
population into it by means of land companies, to whom large 
grants for land were made. The Ohio Coni|>any with a grant 
of .")()(),000 acres on the south side of the Ohio between Monon- 
gahela and the Kanawha; the Greenbrier Company, at the head 
of which was John Lewis of Augusta, obtained authority to 
locate 10{),(l()0 acres on the Greenbrier and its waters, and the 
Loyal Company, with a grant of 800,000 acres with authority 
to locate the same from the North Carolina line north and 

Each of these land companies proceeded to locate their 
lands, and in 1751 Colonel John Lewis and his son, Andrew, 
afterward a distinguished General, surveyed the Greenbrier 
tract, including ''Marlinton's Bottom," on the Greenbrier 
River, on which is now situate the town of Marlinton, the 
County seat of Pocahontas County, where they found Jacob 
]\Iarlin and Stephen Sewell. The Loyal Company surveyed a 
large part of the lands granted to it, even extending its surveys 
into what is now Giles County, Virginia, about one of which 
tracts a controversy arose and was decided by the Supreme 
Court of A})peals of Virginia in July, 1834. French vs Loyal 
Company, Hth Leigh's K. 080. 

The movements of the English were closely watched by the 
French, wlio. understanding their design, determined to defeat 

They accordingly crossed Lake Champlain, built ('rown Point, 
and fortified certain positions on the waters of the upper 
Ohio. In the year of 1752, on the Miami, a collision occurred 
between some of the French soldiers and the English traders 
and Indians, in which some of the Indians were killed and 
some of the whites were taken prisoners. This was the begin- 
ning of what is known as the French and Indian War, which 

1654-1753 17 

resulted in the loss to France of all her territory east of the 

Governor Dinwiddle of Virginia, arrived in that Colony in 

1752, and viewing with alarm the encroachments of the French, 
dispatched George Washington on a commission to the French 
Commandant on the Ohio. 

Washington left Williamsburg on the 31st day of October, 

1753, and proceeded by way of Romney, in Hampshire County, 
where he remained one night, and finally reached the French 
post on the Ohio, made known his commission to the French 
Commandant, who replied that it "did not become him to dis- 
cuss civil matters." Washington returned immediately to 
Williamsburg and reported the failure of his mission. Under 
instructions from the English government to raise a force of 
men to build and occupy two forts on the Ohio, the House of 
Burgesses voted 10,000 pounds and the raising of a regiment 
of men, the command of which was given to Colonel Joshua 
Fry as Commandant, with George Washington as Lieutenant- 
Colonel. Fry was taken sick on the journey and the command 
devolved upon Washington. These troops left Alexandria, 
Virginia, in April, and arrived at Will's Creek on the 20th 
of the same month, and on the 28th of May reached a place 
called Redstone, where they encountered a French and Indian 
force, which they attacked, killing ten and taking the rest 
prisoners. From these prisoners Washington learned that a 
large force of French and Indians were in his front; neverthe- 
less he continued his march to the Great Meadows, where he 
halted and built a fort, calling it "Fort Necessity." On the 
third day of July, at 11 o'clock a. m., the enemy assailed Wash- 
ington's works with vigor, and attempted to carry them by 
assault, but were repulsed with loss. The battle however, con- 
tinued with great fury until well into the night. At the end 
of a nine hours engagement and after severe loss to the enemy, 
the French Commandant Count de Viliers, sent in a flag of 
truce, praising the gallantry of the Virginians, and offering 
to treat for a surrender of the works on honorable terms. His 

18 New River Settlements 

proposals were accepted, and the next morning the treaty was 
concluded, and the Virginians took up their line of march for 
their homes. The French and Indians numbered 1,000 men. 
{Peyton's Augusta.) 

It seems that Washington on his march to the Great Mead- 
ows was joined by a Company of soldiers from South Carolina, 
who were with him at the surrender of Fort Necessity. 

Being now fully satisfied that war was inevitable, the 
British cabinet encouraged the Colonies to unite for defense 
or aggression, as might be necessary, and a plan to this effect 
was duly signed in 1754. 

In the Spring of 1755 the colonial forces attacked the French 
at four different points. Nova Scotia, Crown Point, Niagara, 
and on the Ohio River. Against the French on the Ohio, oper- 
ations were conducted by General Braddock, who arrived from 
England in February of that year with two regiments. Vir- 
ginia raised eight hundred men to join Braddock, who arrived 
at Alexandria, then called Bellhaven, and appointed Washing- 
ton his aide-de-camp. Braddock dispatched one company of 
colonial troops under Captain Thomas Lewis of Augusta, to 
the Greenbrier country to build a stockade fort and prevent 
Indian raids on the white settlements in that region. - 

The captains commanding companies in the Virginia troops, 
which served under Braddock in his march to the Monongahela 
were Waggener, Cock, Hogg, Stephens, Poulson, Pemronny, 
Mercer and Stuart. 

Braddock with his command of about twenty-two hundred 
men, left Alexandria on the 20th day of April, and crossed the 
Monongahela River on the 9th day of July, 1755, where he 
fell into an ambuscade of French and Indians. He was mor- 
tally wounded, and his army after sustaining fearful loss was 
routed and put to flight. But for the courage and bravery of 
Washington and his Virginians, Braddock's whole force would 
have been annihilated. The Colonial and British loss in this 
engagement was seven hundred and seventy-seven (777) killed 
and wounded. 

1654-1753 19 

This defeat spread wide alarm throughout Virginia, and 
aroused the people to renewed energies for the defense of the 

It may here be noted that among the Virginians who sur- 
vived this battle, and were afterwards distinguished in our 
annals, were Washington, Andrew and William Lewis, Mat- 
thews, Field, and Grant. 

Following this disaster of Braddock and his army, devasta- 
tions and inhuman murders were perpetrated by the French 
and Indians during the summer on the western borders of Vir- 
ginia and Pennsylvania. 

As a result of Braddock's defeat, the whole frontier of West- 
ern Virginia was thrown open to the ravages of the Indians, 
who crossed the Alleghanies and pushed into Augusta, the 
lower Valley and New Eiver settlements, torturing and mur- 
dering men, women and children. Such was the distress oc- 
casioned by these butcheries that Washington in one of his 
letters to Governor Dinwiddle says, "The supplicating tears of 
the women and the moving petitions of the men melt me into 
such deadly sorrow, that I solemnly declare that if I know my 
own mind I could offer myself a willing sacrifice to the butch- 
ering enemy, provided that it would contribute to the people's 

During all the years, beginning with the year 1753 to 1763 
the Indians continued their barbarities along the Virginia bor- 
der. We must now turn to events transpiring in the New River 

Notwithstanding that Drapers Meadows settlement was far 
from the Ohio, and apparently safe from any probability of at- 
tack from any quarter, and although these settlers must have 
been aware that war was then being waged by the Indians 
against the whites, they took no reasonable precaution for 
their safety, but on Sunday, the 8th day of July, 1755, the 
day before Braddock's defeat on the Monongahela, they per- 
mitted themselves to be surprised by a band of marauding 
Shawnees from North of the Ohio, who killed, wounded and 

20 New River Settlements 

captured every person present. The killed were Colonel James 
Patton, Mrs. George Draper, Casper Barrier, and a child of 
John Draper, James Cull ; wounded, Mrs. William Ingles, Mrs. 
John Draper and Henry Leonard, captured. After putting 
their plunder and the women and children on horses, they set 
fire to the buildings, and with their prisoners began their re- 
treat to the Ohio, passing on their way, and not far from the 
scene of the tragedy, the house of Philip Barger, an old white 
haired man, whose head they cut off, put in a bag, and took 
it with them to the house of Philip Lybrook at the mouth of 
Sinking Creek, and where they left it, telling Mrs. Lybrook 
to look in the bag and she would find an acquaintance. 

The morning of the attack upon the settlers of Drapers 
Meadows Colonel Patton had sent his nephew, young William 
Preston, over to Philip Lybrook's, on Sinking Creek, to get 
him to come over and help next day with the harvest, which 
was ready to cut. Preston and Lybrook instead of following 
the river, crossed the mountains, probably by the place where 
Newport, in Giles County, is now situated, and thus doubtless 
escaped death or capture. Of the facts and circumstances at- 
tending the attack on this settlement, the killing, wounding 
and capture of all present, of the journey of the prisoners to 
Ohio, the escape and return home of Mrs. Ingles, the writer 
is largely indebted to the authentic, pathetic account by the 
late Dr. John P. Hale, of Charleston, West Virginia, in his 
book "Trans-Alleghany Pioneers." 

Just why the Indians did not disturb the families of Adam 
Harman and Philip Lybrook, whose settlements were imme- 
diately on the river and along the trace the Indians must have 
traveled in going to and returning from Drapers Meadows, 
cannot well be explained. These Indians with their prison- 
ers passed down New River, crossing at the ford above the 
mouth of Bluestone, thence across what is called White Oak 
Mountain, the northeastern extension of the Flat Top, by way 
of where Beckley, in Raleigh County, is now situate, the old 

1654-1753 21 

Indian trail passed at what is now the junction of the prin- 
cipal streets of the town, and on to the head of Paint Creek 
and down to the Kanawha. Thus it will be seen that they 
passed over the territory of Mercer County. This trail up 
Paint Creek, and either by Pipe Stem Knob or mouth of Big 
Bluestone, was one of their frequently traveled ways to the 
East River and New River settlements. Paint Creek took 
its name from several trees standing thereon painted by the 
Indians as one of their guides or land marks on their maraud- 
ing expeditions into the white settlements and on their re- 
turn they by marks on these trees would indicate the number 
of scalps taken. 

Governor Dinwiddle had on August 11th, 1755 been inform- 
ed of the death of Colonel Patton and the destruction of the 
Drapers Meadows settlement, as he refers to same in a letter 
of that date to Captain Andrew Lewis. 

Mrs. William Ingles who was captured by the Indians at 
Drapers Meadows, and carried by them to their town North 
of the Ohio, and later to Big Bone Lick, in Kentucky, escaped 
in the fall of the same year with an old Dutch woman, and 
they made their way up the Ohio, Kanawha and New Rivers 
to the settlements. Evidently, from what subsequently hap- 
pened. Captain William Ingles, the husband of Mrs. Ingles, 
very shortly after her return, went to Williamsburg to lay 
before Governor Dinwiddle the situation of affairs on the 
border. Governor Dinwiddle writes on December 15th, 1755, 
to Colonel Stuart and to Captains Hogg, Preston, Smith, Rich- 
ard Pearls and Woodson, of the intention to take the Shaw- 
nee towns on the Ohio River, and in his letter to Preston 
and Smith he refers to the bearer thereof as Mr. Ingles, who 
evidently was Captain William Ingles, who, while at Wil- 
liamsburg with the Governor, originated and planned the 
Sandy expedition against the Shawnees whose towns were 
situated on the lower side of the Scioto on the North bank 
of the Ohio opposite the present city of Portsmouth. In about 

22 New Eiver Settlements 

1767 a great flood in the Ohio overran their towns and they 
moved up to Chillicothe. 

Governor Dinwiddie in a letter to Major Andrew Lewis, 
dated February Gth, 1756, and which seems to have been writ- 
ten but a few days before the starting of the Sandy expedi- 
tion, says : "The distance by Evans' map is not two hundred 
miles to the upper towns of the Shawnees, however, at once 
begin your march." This map was made by Lewis Evans, a 
copy of which can be found in the Library of Congress, and 
the distance estimated by Governor Dinwiddie from the far- 
ther settlements to the Shawnee towns on the Ohio Kiver, at 
the mouth of the Scioto, was not far from correct. 

Richard Pearis was a captain of militia of Augusta County 
and further had charge of a company of friendly Cherokee 
Indians. He is often referred to in the letters of Governor 
Dinwiddie. On page 266 of "The Dinwiddie Papers," note 
161, Richard Pearis is described as an Indian trader, located 
on Holstein River, who acted as interpreter, and was after- 
wards commissioned a captain to command a company of 
Indians. The name is spelled in other instances, "Paris", and 
has respected representatives in Augusta County today. In 
a letter of Governor Dinwiddle's to Major Andrew Lewis, 
dated February 16th, 1756, he says : "I am glad the Cherokees 
are in so high spirits. I desire that you show proper regard 
and respect to the High Warrior and take care that Mr. 
Pearis behaves well and keeps sober." 

It is undoubtedly true that Mrs. Ingles on her return from 
captivity in November, 1755, made known to her husband and 
others, the position of the Indian towns on the Ohio and of 
the expressed determination of the savages to destroy the 
white settlements along the New River valley. This led to 
Captain Ingles' visit to the Governor at Williamsburg to 
forestall the Indian plans by sending a force of troops to de- 
stroy them before they could strike a blow at the settlements. 

Mrs. Ingles was not willing to remain on the New River 
nor even at Vaux's fort, on the Roanoke, nearby where 

1654-1753 23 

Shawesville now stands, but insisted that her husband should 
carry her to a place of greater safety for she was well aware 
that the Indians would repeat their visits to the settlements 
and that she and her friends would again be exposed to dan- 
ger of death or capture. 

The fears of Mrs. Ingles were well grounded, for on the 
very next day after the departure of herself and family from 
Vaux's fort, in the summer of 1756, it was attacked by the 
Indians, and the inmates were destroyed or captured and car- 
ried away, but two or three afterwards escaped. 

The incursions made by the Indians into the frontier set- 
tlements and their depredations immediately after Braddock's 
defeat, led to the organization of the Sandy expedition, under 
the order of Governor Dinwiddle, and suggested and planned 
by Captain William Ingles, who accompanied the expedition. 
Colonel Washington sent Major Andrew Lewis from Winches- 
ter to take charge of the forces, which were to attack the In- 
dian towns on the Ohio. Major Lewis' forces rendezvoused 
at Fort Prince George on the Roanoke, near where Salem, Vir- 
ginia, now stands. The force consisted of about 340 men. 
Among the oflBcers were Captains Peter Hogg, John Smith, 
William Preston, Archibald Alexander, Robert Breckinridge, 

Obediah Woodson, John Montgomery and Dunlap, 

together with a company of friendly Indians under Captain 
Richard Pearis. The company commanded by Captain Hogg 
failed to attend at the appointed time, and Major Lewis after 
delaying a week for its arrival, marched forward, expecting 
to be overtaken by it. 

It was important to the success of the expedition that it 
should not be discovered by the Indians until it was too late 
for them to take measures to thwart it; therefore, instead 
of taking the more public route by way of the Great Kanawha, 
Major Lewis selected the route most likely to keep his move- 
ments concealed from the enemy. While it would seem im- 
portant, yet Major Lewis made no report of the expedition; 
if so it has not been published. Yet we are not without fairly 

24 New River Settlements 

full information on the subject. The author being so fortu- 
nate as to get a copy in part of Captain William Preston's 
journal, kept by him on this expedition, which will be here- 
inafter copied. The route by which Lewis with his men 
reached the mouth of the Sandy, has been stated by different 
writers, no two agreeing, and none strictly correct. See With- 
ers. Bord. Warf. Hale's Trans-Alleghany Pioneers. Peyton's 
His. of Augusta. Lewis' His. of W. Va. His. Southwest Va. 
by Summers. 

We will let Captain William Preston tell the story as writ- 
ten down by him at the time. 

"Monday, ye 9th day of February, 1756, 

"In persuance to ye orders of Major Lewis, dated the 4th 
inst., I marched from Fort Prince George, with my two Lieu- 
tenants, 2 Serjeants, 3 Corporals, and 25 Privates. We had 
one waggon load of dry beef, the wt. 2000 lbs. We traveled 15 
miles the first day and lodged at the home of Francis Cyphers, 
on Roanoke, and early on Tuesday morning, being the 10th, 
we proceeded on our journey as far as Richd. Hall's, about 15 

"Wednesday, the 11th, marched to New River; informed that 
Capt. Hog's compy was but a little behind us. As we marched 
by the Cherikee Camp we saluted them by firing off guns, 
which they returned in seeming great joy, and afterwards 
honored us with a war dance. 

"Thursday, 12th, heard a sermon preached at Capt. Wood- 
ston's Camp, by Rev. Mr. Brown. 

"Friday, 13th: reviewed by Major Lewis. The number re- 
viewed was about 340, Indians included, being the Companies 
of Capt. C. Hog, Preston, Smith, Overton, Woodston, and 
Pearls, with the Cherikee Indians. Rev. Mr. Craig preached 
a military sermon, text in Deuteronomy. Two Captain's com- 
missions given by Major Lewis to two head Cherokee War- 
riors named Yellow Bird and Round O. 

1654-1753 25 

"Sat. 14. A company of volunteers, 25 in number, under 
Capt. Delap (The name is indistinct in the Mas.) joined us. 

"Sunday 15th, James Burk brot word that Robert Looney 
was killed nigh Alex Sawyers, and he had himself one horse 
shot and five taken away by the Shawnee Indians. 

"Monday 16, 40 Indians and 60 white men under command 
of Capt. Smith and Woodston marched from fort in order to 
range the woods about Reed Creek; they are to march to 
Burke's Garden. 

"Tuesday 17, Mr. Paul returned from the horse guard (This 
guard had been left to protect the crossing of New River.) 

"Wednesday 18, Capt. Hog's company and Major Lewis 
march in afternoon. 

"Thursday 19, Left Fort Frederick at 10 o'clock: 27 loaded 
pack horses, got to William Sawyer's: camped on his barn 

"Friday 20, Switched one of the soldiers for swearing, 
which very much incensed the Indian chiefs then present. Ad- 
vanced to Alex Sawyers, met the Indians who went out with 
the first division, and Lieutenant Ingles who informed us of 
the burial of Robt. Looney. Some of our Indians deserted. 

Sat. 21, Major Lewis, Capt. Pearls and the interpreter went 
to Col. Buchanan's place, where they met the Indians who 
had deserted us, and induced them to return, which they did. 

"Sunday 22, Marched to John McFarland's. 

"Monday 23, Marched over the mountain to Bear Garden, 
on North Fork of Holston's river. Lost sundry horses. 

"Tuesday 24, Crossed two mountains and arrived at Burke's 
Garden. Had plenty of potatoes which the soldiers gathered 
in the deserted plantations. 

"Wednesday 25, Remained in Camp. 

"Burke's Garden is a tract of land of 5000 or 6000 acres, as 
rich and fertile as any I ever saw, as well watered with many 
beautiful streams, and is surrounded with mountains almost 

26 New River Settlements 

''Thursday 26, Marched early, crossed three large mount- 
ains, arrived at head of Clinch. Our hunters found no game. 

"Friday 27, Lay by on account of rain. Hunters killed three 
or four bears. 

"Saturday 28, passed several branches of Clinch and at 
length got to head of Sandy Creek, where we met with great 
trouble and fatigue, occasioned by heavy rain, and driving our 
baggage horses down said creek, which we crossed 20 times 
that evening. Killed three buffalos and some deer. 

"Sunday 29, In 15 miles passed the creek 66 times. Sundry 
horses were left, not being able to carry loads any further. 
Encamped at a cane swamp. This creek has been much fre- 
quented by Indians both traveling and hunting on it, and 
from many late signs I am apprehensive that Starnicker — 
the prisoners taken with him were carried this way. 

"Monday 1st, of March (1756) 

"Marched at 9 o'k. In 4 miles left the Creek to Eastward, 
passed a gap in high ridge, and came upon a branch, where 
we camped in a large bend in a prominent place. Sent Abrim 
Bledsher to hunt. 

"Tuesday 2, Discovered recent signs of enemy Indians hunt- 
ing camp : our Cherikees ranged the woods. Moved down the 
branch and came to the main creek where we camped. Put 
on half rations. Came into the Cole (Coal) land: crossed 
the river 8 times. 

"Wednesday 3. Marched only 9 or 10 miles being much re- 
tarded by the river and mountains which closed in on both 
sides, which made our marching very difficult, and more so 
as each man had but half pound of flour and no meat but what 
we could kill and that was verv scarce. 

"Thursday 4, Lost many horses that wandered off and 
could not be found. Marched 6 miles. Hunters had no suc- 
cess, and nothing but hunger and fatigue appears to us. 

"Friday 5, With great difficulty marched 15 miles: the river 
being very deep and often to cross, nearly killed the men, as 

1654-1753 27 

they were in utmost extremity for want of provisions. My 
fourth horse expired. 

"Saturday 6, As we encamped nigh the forks of the river, 
we only crossed the S. E. fork and encamped. The Cherikees 
made bark canoes to carry themselves down the river. Major 
Lewis had a large canoe made to carry the amunition and 
small remnant of flour. The men murmured much for want 
of provisions and numbers threatened to return home. 

"Sunday 7, Marched to a place 6 miles below the forks of 
the river. Mountains very high and no appearance of level 
country, which greatly discouraged the men. The men were 
faint and weak with hunger and could not travel the mount- 
ains and wade the river as formerly, there was no game in the 
mountains, nor appearance of level country, and their half 
pound of flour would not support them, and that would soon 
be gone, and they intended to leave next morning and go home. 
I proposed to kill the horses to eat, which they refused. They 
said that might do to support them if they were on their way 
home, but it was not a diet proper to sustain men on a long 
march against the enemy. They finally agreed to make one 
more trial down the river. 

"Monday 8, Proceeded down the river about 3 miles, where 
the mountains closed so nigh the water that we could not 
pass: went up a branch, crossed a very high mountain, and 
down another branch to the river, where we met a party of 
men who had been at the river and could not get down any 
further. Crossed another mountain to the head of another 
branch which we followed several miles to the river and 
camped. Some of the volunteers killed two elk, which they 
divided with us. 

"Tuesday 9, The volunteers killed two buflfalos and an elk, 
which helped us some, but the men are very faint and con- 
tinue to murmur. Did not move this day waiting for Major 
Lewis, and the rest of the men who were left at the forks of 
the river, supposed 15 miles. 

28 New River Settlements 

"Wednesday 10, Sent a messenger with a letter to Major 
Lewis to come at once, as the men were determined to desert 
and go home. 

''Thursday 11th, 8 of Capt Smith's men went off and Bled- 
sher and . 

"Friday 12, 8 or 10 of my Company being ready to leave, 
I was obliged to disarm them and take their blankets from 
them by force. Capt. Woodson arrived, with some of his 
company, and informed us that his canoe overset, and lost 
his tents and every thing of value. Major Lewis' canoe was 
sunk in the river and he and Capt. Overton and Lieut. Gun 
had to swim for their lives: they lost every thing of value, 
particularly 5 or 6 guns. 

"Major Lewis, Lieut. McNeal and Mr. Chen arrived, and 
informed us of their shipwreck. He had seen Bledsher and 
9 other men going off. 

"Saturday 13th, Major Lewis ordered each Capt. to call 
his company together immediately, which was done. He made 
a speech to them, but they were obstinate. 

"Major Lewis stepped off some yrads, and desired all that 
were willing to share his fate, to go with him. All the officers, 
and some privates, not above 20 or 30, joined him. Then Mont- 
gomery's volunteers marched off, and were immediately fol- 
lowed by my company and Smith's: 4 private men and my 
lieutenants stayed with me. 

"Major Lewis spoke to Old Autocity, who was much griev- 
ed to see the men desert, who said that he was willing to pro- 
ceed, but some of his warriors and young men were yet be- 
hind, and he was doubtful about them. Mr. Dunlap's volun- 
teers went off in the afternoon. 

"An account of miles marched each day on our journey to 
the Shawnees' towns. 

1654-1753 29 


"From F. P. George to Cyphers' 15 

2nd day to R. Hall's 15 

3rd day to F. A. Frederick 15 

19th Feb. to Wm. Sawyers 20 

20th Feb. to McCaul's 13 

Sunday 22, to McFarland's 7 

Monday 23 to Bear Garden 10 

Tuesday 24 to Burke's Garden 9 

Thursday 26, to head of Clinch 10 

Saturday 28, to head of Sandy Creek 10 

Sunday 29, down Sandy Creek 12 

Monday 1st, March Sandy Creek 6 

Tuesday 2, Sandy Creek 3 

Wednesday 3rd, Sandy Creek 10 

Friday 5, Sandy Creek 15 

Saturday 6, Sandy Creek 2 

Sunday 7, Sandy Creek 7 

Monday 8, (Here the journal ends M,) 7 

It will appear by a close examination of this journal by one 
fully acquainted with the territory from the head waters of 
the Clinch to the mouth of the Dry Fork of the Tug Fork of 
Sandy, where the Station of laeger on the line of the Norfolk 
and Western Railway now stands, over which territory the 
expedition passed, that it proceeded by way of one of the 
North branches of the Clinch through the farm of the late 
W. G. Mustard in Tazewell County, thence through Maxwell's 
Gap on to the waters of Horse Pen Creek, thence down the 
same to Jacob's Fork, and down the same to the Low gap or 
Cane Brake in the ridge dividing the waters of Jacob's Fork 
from Dry Fork, and a little South and West of the residence 
of Rev. R. B. Godbey, on Jacob's Fork, thence down the Dry 
Fork to its junction with the Tug or main fork. 

Captain Hogg and his company finally overtook Major Lew- 
is. At the same time a messenger arrived directing the return 

30 New River Settlements 

of the expedition. It however proceeded to the mouth of the 
Sandy, and some of the officers urged the crossing of the Ohio 
river, but it was finally decided to obey the summons to re- 
turn. The weather was extremely cold, snow having fallen 
the march was a difficult one, and the men stopping at Burn- 
ing Spring (Warfield) took strips of the hides of the buffalos 
and broiled them in the burning gas. They cut them into 
strips or thugs, hence the name of Tug River. On leaving the 
spring they scattered through the mountains and many of 
them perished, either frozen to death, starved or killed by the 
Indians. They left however, some marks by the way, cutting 
their names on trees on the route pursued by them, notably 
at the forks of Big Coal and Clear Fork of that River, but 
these trees have been destroyed in recent years. 

As already stated, if Major Lewis ever made any written 
report of this expedition, the author has been unable to find 
it or any trace of it, and therefore we are without information 
as to tlie number of men lost on the expedition. 

The Indians had discovered that Lewis and his men were 
on the Sandy or about the mouth of it, and some of them fol- 
lowed the whites for a distance on their way homeward. 

A second Sandy expedition seems to have been contemplat- 
ed, but for some reason abandoned. 

Reference has already been made to that splendid body of 
land situate in the southeastern part of the present County 
of Tazewell, about fourteen miles from the Court House there- 
of and known as Burke's Garden. Colonel William Preston, 
as we have seen from his journal, gives a short description of 
this body of land. It appears that Lewis and his men saw 
this Garden within less than three years after Burke had dis- 
covered it. Whether between 1753 and 1756 Ingles and Pat- 
ton were therein surveying lands for the Loyal Company does 
not certainly appear. 

Burke moved with his family into the Garden in 1754, (1) 

(1) A white thorn bush, sprout from an older bush, at a spring, 
near to the residence of Mr. Rufus Thompson, in Burl^e's Garden, is 
pointed out as the spot where Burke spent his first night in the Garden. 

1654-1753 31 

cleared up some land, and planted a crop, including potatoes, 
and in the fall of 1755 was driven out on account of fear of 
Indians, and left his crop of potatoes in the ground which 
Lewis' men found the next spring and appropriated. Burke 
had killed a large number of deer, elk and bear, and had tan- 
ned a number of the hides, which he took with him when he 
left in the fall of 1755. On his way out with his family he 
camped one night in an old hunter's cabin near what is now 
Sharon Springs in the now County of Bland, Virginia. The 
Indians followed him, and on their way killed two hunters 
in their camp. On approaching Burke's cabin and seeing sev- 
eral horses, and the tanned hides rolled up in the cabin, they 
came to the conclusion that there were too many people for 
them to attack, and contented themselves with the cutting of 
the throat of one of Burke's horses. One of the evidences 
adduced that Burke had removed with his family to this Gar- 
den, and lived there in 1755, is, that no mention of him or of 
his family is made in the history of the destruction of the 
Drapers Maedows settlers by the Indians on the 8th day of 
July, 1755, while all the other settlers are acconuted for. 
Burke was not killed in the Garden. He was living and seen 
by Captain Preston and his men on the 15th day of February, 
1756, when he reported to Major Lewis the killing by the 
Indians of a man by the name of Robert Looney near Alexan- 
der Sawyer's. Burke with his family never returned to the 
Garden to live, first, because the Loyal Company claimed the 
land and had Ingles and Patton to survey it. Second, Burke 
got not one foot of it, and, third; he removed South where he 
died. Many of his descendants, among them the Snidows, of 
Giles County, still reside in the New River Valley, and they 
seem never to have heard of the story that Burke was killed 
in the Garden. Again Morris GrifiBth, the step son of Burke, 
who is reputed to have first seen the Garden, was captured 
at Vaux's Fort in the Summer of 1756, but escaped. 

The failure of the Sandy expedition gave encouragement to 
the Indians and they prepared to assault more fiercely the 

32 New Eivbr Settlements 

border white settlements during the Spring, Summer and Fall 
months of 1756. 

Vaux Fort situated on the Roanoke near where Shawesville 
Station on the line of the Norfolk and Western Railway Com- 
pany now stands, was built prior to 1756, and destroyed in 
the early Summer of that year. 

On September 8th, 1756, Governor Dinwiddle, (Dinwiddie 
Papers) writes to Captain Hogg as follows: "I received yours 
of the 25th ult, and observe you have made a beginning to 
build a fort near Vass's plantation, which is well. I am of 
the opinion that three forts are necessary, as the one you are 
constructing may be sufficient, as I hear Col. Washington is 
with you, counsel with him thereon." This letter shows that 
Colonel George Washington was with Captain Hogg on the 
Roanoke at Vass's Fort when the above letter was written. 

From the beginning of the French and Indian war in 1753 
up to the close of the war in the year 1763, the border country 
from the lakes to the mountains of North Carolina was scourg- 
ed by Indian forays and incursions, and the few inhabitants 
were kept in almost constant fear. 

Preston's Journal shows that several settlements had been 
made along Peak, Reed and other Creeks West of New River 
prior to 1756. Among the parties he names are William Saw- 
yers, Alexander Sawyers, and John McFarland, and Dr. Walk- 
er mentions Samuel Stalnaker as on the Holston on the 24th 
of March, 1750, when he and Mr. Powell helped him to raise 
a house. 

Hale in his Trans Alleghany Pioneers states that seven fam- 
ilies were settled West of New River in 1754, but gives the 
names of but two. Reed and McCorkle. 

The New River lead mines were discovered by Colonel Chis- 
well in 1757. 

About the year of 1758 Joseph Howe, and a little later 
James Hoge settled in the Back Creek Valley. 

In 1760 an Indian marauding party penetrated the New 
River settlements, and passing over into what is now Bedford 

1654-1753 33 

County, committed murders and other depredations and on 
its return, reaching the vicinity of Ingles' Ferry, was attacked 
by Captain William Ingles, Captain Henry Harman, (Har- 
man Ms.) and others. One white man and six or seven In- 
dians were killed, and this was the last Indian foray that ever 
succeeded in penetrating so far into the interior. Captain 
Henry Harman was a German, born in the Isle of Man, and 
first settled in Forsythe County, North Carolina, where he 
married Miss Nancy Wilburn, and removed to the New River 
Valley about 1758, and settled first on Buchanan's Bottom 
(the Major James R. Kent farm, below the present town of 
Radford, Virginia) ; and from thence removed to Walker's 
Creek in what is now Bland County, and shortly thereafter 
to the Hollybrook farm on Kimberling in the same County. 

This name Harman being German, was originally Herman, 
and the family of this name that settled in the New River 
Valley, except Adam Harman, and in Tazewell County, Vir- 
ginia, were all from the State of North Carolina. Adam Har- 
man and his family and all by that name that settled on the 
Jackson River and in Western Virginia came from the Valley 
of Virginia. 

In the Fall of the year 1763, about fifty Indian warriors 
ascended the Great Sandy, and passed over the present terri- 
tory of Mercer County on to New River, where they separated, 
forming two parties, one going towards the Jackson River, 
and the other towards the Roanoke and Catawba settlements. 

Pitman, Pack and Swope, trappers on New River, discovered 
the trail of these Indians and the route they had taken, sus- 
pecting that they were preparing to attack the settlements 
just mentioned, they set out. Pitman for Jackson's River and 
Pack and Swope for Roanoke, but the Indians reached both 
places ahead of them. After killing some people in the Jack- 
son's River settlement and taking some prisoners, the Indians 
began a hasty retreat towards the Ohio, pursued by Captain 
Audley Paul with a company of twenty men from Fort Din- 
widdle, and who followed the Indians up Dunlap's Creek over 
on to Indian Creek and New River, to the mouth of Piney 

34 New River Settlements 

Creek without discovering them, and Captain Paul started 
on his return. 

The party that had crossed over on to the Roanoke and 
Catawba committed some depredations and murders, and cap- 
tured three prisoners, a Mrs. Katherine Gun, a man by the 
name of Jacob Kimberline (who was taken from a creek now 
called Kimberling, a branch of Walker's Creek) and another 
whose name is not given. Tliis party was being pursued by 
Captain William Ingles, Captain Henry Harman and their 
men. On the night of the 12th of October, the Indians pur- 
sued by Ingles and Harman were discovered by Captain Paul 
and his men about midnight, encamped on the North bank of 
the New River opposite an island at the mouth of Turkey 
Creek (now Indian Creek) in Summers County. Paul's men 
fired on them, killed three and wounded several others, one of 
whom threw himself into the river to preserve his scalp, the 
rest of the party fled hurriedly down the river. 

The Snidows came in 1766 and settled in the neighborhood 
of Philip Lybrook, near the mouth of Sinking Creek; however 
settlements had been made in the Greenbrier section of coun- 
try by Marlin and Sewell in 1750, and some families came in 
1762, but they were massacred by Indians in 1763, and reset- 
tlements did not begin in that section until the year of 1769. 

The Snidow family mentioned above, were Germans, and 
came from Pennsylvania. John, the father, and head of the 
family, had in 1765 visited the New River section, and Philip 
Lybrook, whom it is supposed had been his neighbor in Penn- 
sylvania. He returned for his family and started with them 
for his irew home in 1766, but on the road was taken suddenly 
and violently ill, from which illness he died. His widow, 
Elizabeth, with her children, made her way to the New River 
home which had been selected and fixed upon by her husband. 
This family later suffered from an Indian attack in which a 
part of its members were killed and a part captured. This 
family became one of the largest and most influential of the 
settlers of the New River Valley. 

1654-1753 35 

Settlements began on the head waters of the Clinch in 1766- 
1767, but as there will be a chapter in this work devoted ex- 
clusively to the history of Tazewell County, in which these 
settlements were made, a statement in full in regard thereto 
is reserved to be stated in said chapter. 




Formation Botetourt County from Augusta in 1769 — Cooks, 
Keeneys and others on Indian Creek and the Greenbrier — 
Building Forts — Cooks on Indian Creek and Keeneys at 
Keeney's Knobs — Fort at Lewisburg built — John and 
Richard Chapman and McKensey settle at mouth of Walk- 
er's Creek — Snidows, Lybrooks and Chapmans build fort 
at the Horse Shoe — Absalom Looney from Looney's Creek 
explores upper Bluestone waters — Other settlers on the 
head of Clinch — John McNeil from the Virginia Valley 
locates at Little Levels — Accompanies General Lewis to 
the battle of Point Pleasant — Captain James Moore, Sam- 
uel Ferguson, the Peerys and others in the battle of the 
Alamance May 16th, 1771— In 1772 Evan Shelby at King's 
Meadows, and John Sevier from the Valley, on the Noli- 
chucky — Refugees from the Alamance, from Fairfax 
County, Virginia, on the Watauga — Over mountain men 
— Back water men — Peace men — Fincastle County creat- 
ed and courts held at Lead Mines— Daniel Boone, family 
and party from the Yadkin— Squire Boone a Baptist min- 
ister, with the party— On their way to Kentucky are at- 
tacked by Indians and party scattered— Daniel and Squire 
winter near Castleswoods— Dunmore's War begins in the 
Spring of 1774 — Daniel Boone in command of the fron- 
tier — Captain William Russell's company from the Clinch 
— Reece and Moses Bowen with Russell — Evan Shelby, 
his son Isaac and John Sevier also lead a company — Se- 
vier from North Carolina but supposes he lives in Vir- 
ginia — Governor Dunmore raises an army and commands 
northern division — General Andrew Lewis the southern 
division — March to the mouth of the Kanawha and battle 
of Point Pleasant— August 7th, 1774, Indians attack the 
Lvbrooks and Snidows at Sinking Creek — Harman's fort 
—Shannons settle at Poplar Hill, 1774— Grant of Clover 
Bottom to Mitchell Clay. 

36 New River Settlements 

Up to and including the year of 1769 the territory covering 
the New River Valley and the section of the country West 
thereof, was within the County of Augusta, but in November 
of that year a county called Botetourt was created, the act to 
be in effect January 31st, 1769. 

The following are the boundary lines of the county of Bote- 
tourt as given in the Act: "That from and after the 31st day 
of January next ensuing, the said parish and county of Au- 
gusta be divided into two counties and parishes by a line be- 
ginning at the Blue Ridge, running north 55 deg. West to the 
confluence of Mary's Creek (or of South River) with the 
North branch of the James River; thence, up the same to the 
South of Kerr's Creek (Carr's Creek) thence, up said creek 
to the mountain; thence, North 45 deg. West as far as the 
courts of the two counties shall extend it." 

By reference to the map of Virginia it will be seen that a 
line 45 deg. West extended from the mountain at the head 
of Kerr's Creek will reach the Ohio river at some point not 
far from the present city of Wheeling, and will cover largely 
that vast territory which had formerly belonged to Augusta 

Between the years 1769 and 1774, settlements had been made 
by the Cooks from the Virginia Valley on Indian Creek (one 
of their number, John, being killed by the Indians), the 
Woods on Rich Creek, the Grahams on the Greenbrier, and 
others near Keeney's Knobs. Cook's Fort was on Indian Creek 
about tliree miles from New River, Wood's fort on Rich Creek 
on a farm recently owned by the family of John Karnes, and 
about 4 miles East of the present village of Peterstown in the 
County of Monroe. The Keeneys built Keeney's fort near 
Keeney's Knobs. The Snidows, Lybrooks, Chapmans and Mc- 
Kensey built Snidow's fort at the upper end of the Horseshoe 
farm on New River, in what is now Giles County. The Hat- 
fields built Hatfield's fort on Big Stony Creek in the now 
county of Giles on the farm belonging to the late David J. L. 

1654-1753 37 

Snidow. The fort at Lewisburg was built in 1770. The Bar- 
gers built Barger's fort on Tom's Creek in the now County of 
Montgomery. Colonel Andrew Donnally built Donnally's fort. 
Colonel John Stuart built Fort Spring, and Captain Jarrett 
the Wolf Creek fort, the three last named on the Greenbrier 

In 1771 came John Chapman, Richard his brother, and their 
brother-in-law Moredock O. McKensey with their families from 
Culpepper County, Virginia, and located at the mouth of 
Walker's Creek on the New River. The Chapmans and Mc- 
Kensey, the latter a Scotsman, who had married Jemima, the 
only sister of the Chapmans, left their Culpepper home in 
November, 1768, crossed the Blue Ridge into the Valley of 
Virginia, and remained for more than two years on the Shen- 
andoah (then called the Sherando) River, and at some time 
in the year of 1771 fell in with the emigrant bands making 
their way further West, and even across the Alleghanies. John 
Chapman erected his cabin on the Northwest side of Walker's 
Creek at the base of the hill and near the bank of the creek. 
Richard Chapman and McKensey built on the river bottom 
above the mouth of the creek. 

An adventurer by the name of Absalom Looney in 1771 left 
his home on Looney's Creek, now in the Rockbridge country, 
and came over tlie Alleghanies and explored the upper Blue- 
stone country, particularly a beautiful valley now in Taze- 
well County, Virginia, and which in part bears the name of 
its discoverer, being called "Abb's Valley." Looney remained 
in this valley and adjacent territory for two or three years, 
and had for his refuge and hiding place from the savages and 
wild beasts a cave or rather an opening in the limestone 
rocks, for it was not deep under ground. This hiding place 
was pointed out to the author by William T. Moore, Esq., 
whose grandfather settled nearby in 1777. The cave referred 
to is a few yards south of the spot whereon now stands 
Moore's Memorial Methodist Church. On Looney's return to 
his home he gave such glowing description of this valley that 

38 New River Settlements 

one of his neiglibors, Captain James Moore, was induced to 
make a journey to see it. He came in 1776 or 1777 alone, from 
his home with no companians nor weapons, save his rilie gun, 
tomahawk and butcher knife, the hunter's usual weapons of 
offense and defense. Looney had furnished him such a de- 
scription of the valley as to enable him to find the way with- 
out difficulty. Further description of Captain Moore's jour- 
ney and settlement in this valley, and the destruction of his 
family by Indians will be related in the Chapter on the his- 
tory of Tazewell County. 

In 1773 John McNeil from the lower Virginia valley, set- 
tled in the Little Levels on the waters of the Greenbrier, now 
in Pocahontas County, West Virginia. McNeil accompanied 
General Lewis' army to the battle of Point Pleasant, and 
was a participant therein. 

John Sevier of French extraction, who established and gave 
name to the town of New Market in the Valley of Virginia, 
and kept a store in that town, having made the acquaintance 
of Evan Shelby of King's Meadov/s, now Bristol, Tennessee- 
Virginia, made in 1772 a visit to Shelby, and went with him 
to the waters of the Watauga, finding there among the settlers 
persons who had fought in the battle of the Alamance, and 
some from the County of Fairfax, Virginia. These people 
later, together with settlers on the Holstein, were called by 
some. Backwater men. Over mountain men, and Peace men, 
as some of them at least opposed the war with Great Brit- 
ain. But when the tug of war did come, they were almost 
without exception found on the American side, and many 
of them served in the patriot army. Sevier made up his mind 
to locate in this section, and accordingly did, fixing his res- 
idence upon the Nolichuckey, and he was afterwards known 
as, and called "Nolichuckey Jack." He was a brave, cour- 
ageous and intelligent man, and figured extensively in the bor- 
der wars, and in the formation of the State of Franklin, of 
which he was the Governor four years; and was afterwards 
Governor of the State of Tennessee for a number of years. 

1654-1753 39 

Owing to the remote settlements west of the Alleghanies 
and along the New River waters and farther to the west, 
and the difficulties the inhabitants had of reaching the courts 
held at Fincastle in Botetourt County, the inhabitants peti- 
tioned the Legislature of Virginia for the formation of a 
new county, the prayer of which petition was granted in 
February, 1772. The county of Fincastle was created out 
of Botetourt; with the following boundary lines as given in 
the act creating same. 

^'That from and after the first day of December next, the 
said county of Botetourt shall be divided into two distinct 
Counties, that is to say all that part of said county within 
a line to run up the east side of New River to the south of 
Culbertson's Creek, thence, a direct line to the Catawba road, 
where it crosses the dividing ridge between the north of the 
Roanoke and the waters of New River; thence, with the top 
of the ridge to the Bent, where it turns eastwardly; thence, 
a south course to the top of Blue Ridge mountains, shall be 
established as one distinct county and called and known by 
the name of Fincastle; and that the other part thereof, which 
lies to the east and north east of the said line, shall be one 
distinct county and retain the name of Botetourt. 

Daniel Boone from the Yadkin River, North Carolina, vis- 
ited the Holstein settlements in 1760 and again in 1773, and 
engaged in hunting along the waters of the Tennessee, per- 
forming his usual feat of ''Cilling a bar," and proclaiming 
the fact by inscribing it on a beech tree. Several trees are 
said to have been found with similar inscriptions. A brief 
sketch of the life of Boone is given by Dr. John P. Hale, in 
the Trans -Alleghany Pioneers. It may be well to add, how- 
ever, that in the fall of 1773 the Boones, with five other families 
set out from their home on the Yadkin to go to Kentucky, 
and were joined in Powell's Valley by William Bryan, their 
brother-in-law, and forty other people. That while this body 
of emigrants was leisurely traveling through the Valley, a 
small company under James Boone, Daniel's eldest son, left 

40 New Eiver Settlements 

the main body and went to the home of William Russell to 
procure provisions, and on the 9tli of October James Boone 
and his company, among the number being Russell's son, Hen- 
ry, and two slaves, encamped a few miles in the rear of the 
main body. At this point they were the next day waylaid by 
a small party of Shawnee and Cherokee Indians, who were 
supposed to be at peace with the white settlers. On the 
morning of the 10th James Boone and his entire company 
were captured, and after cruel torture were slaughtered. Af- 
ter this occurrence Daniel Boone's company broke up and re- 
turned to the settlements, and Daniel and his family returned 
to the home of William Russell near Castleswoods on Clinch 
river, and spent the winter of 1773-1774 in that neighborhood. 
"Summers' His. South West Va." In addition to these state- 
ments made by Summers, it may be added upon well authen- 
ticated testimony that Squire Boone, a brother of Daniel, with 
his family were with this party of emigrants and remained 
over the same winter in the neighborhood of William Russell, 
and his brother Daniel and his family. Squire Boone was 
a Missionary Baptist minister, and during his stay at or near 
Castle's-woods, planted the germ from which sprang Castle's- 
woods Baptist church which exists to this day. Again it is 
known that Squire Boone married the first white couple that 
were married in Kentucky. 

With tlie opening of the Spring of 1774 the Indians began 
their depredations upon the border, and Governor Dunmore 
began the raising and mobilizing of a Virginian army to pun- 
ish the savages. The army was divided into two divisions, the 
northern division was commanded by Dunmore himself, the 
southern division commanded by Brg. General Andrew Lewis, 
and its appointed place of rendezvous was at Camp Union 
(now Lewisburg, West Virginia). To this southern division 
belonged Colonel Wililam Christian's regiment of Fiucastle 
men, to which was attached a company from the lower Clinch 
commanded by Captain William Russell, which in August, 
1774, marched for the place of rendezvous, joining en route 

1654-1753 41 

on New River the regiment to which it belonged. It is be- 
lieved that the line of march of Russell's company was up 
the Clinch and down the East river, passing the site of the 
present city of Bhiefield, West Virginia. In Russell's Com- 
pany were Reece Bowen, Moses Bowen, the latter dying from 
small pox on the expedition, and others from their neighbor- 
hood in the Cove, in the now County of Tazewell. Daniel 
Boone was left in command of Russell's fort and the border in 
the absence of Russell and his men. At this time Reece Bowen 
had a fort at Maiden Spring, which was located on the farm 
of Mr. Reece Bowen, a great grand son of the Reece Bowen, 
first above mentioned. In the absence of Captain Russell and 
his company, the neighbors of Reece Bowen had gathered in his 
fort, they were principally, if not altogether, women and chil- 
dren. Mrs. Bowen went out in search of her cows, and in a 
marsh she discovered Indian signs, immediately returned to 
the fort, and dressed up in male attire a negro woman, gave her 
a rifle gun, and caused her to walk to and fro in front of the 
door or gate to the fort. The ruse succeeded, and the fort was 
not attacked. 

Between the years of 1765 and the Spring of 1774 there had 
been peace along the border -between the whites and the In- 
dians. A difference of opinion exists as to the causes which 
led to Dunmore's War. Some have asserted that it had its ori- 
gin in the murder of some Indians on the Ohio river both above 
and below Wheeling in the Spring of the latter mentioned year. 
Others suppose it to have been produced by the instigation of 
the British emissaries and the influence of Canadian traders. 
It it certain, however, that numerous outrages were committed 
upon the Indians by the whites, and the war was the natural 
outgrowth of the strained relations which had long existed be- 
tween the Savages and the white colonists in their midst. Also 
immediately after the perpetration of the outrages, Indians in 
numerous bands and marauding parties attacked the border 
settlements and bloodshed and murder were the results. 

42 New River Settlements 

One of these marauding parties left the north bank of the 
Ohio river making tlieir way up to the settlements of the Ly- 
brooks, Chapmans and Snidows, and after prowling around 
several days it was discovered by some of the settlers that they 
were in tlie neighborhood, and thereupon most of the families 
took refuge in the forts for safety. The family of John Chap- 
man abondoned their house and went to the fort. The Indians 
burned his house which was the second they had destroyed for 
him. It has already been stated that the Chapmans, Lybrooks, 
McKenseys and Snidows had a fort on the bank of New river, 
at the extreme upper end of the farm now known as the Horse 
shoe, and that Adam Harman had a fort or block house at Gun- 
powder Spring, in which his family and perhaps others had ta- 
ken shelter. Philip Lybrook and a man by the name of Mc- 
Griff had built their cabins in a little bottom just below the 
mouth of Sinking creek on the farm lately known as that of 
Croft or Hale, and were engaged in the cultivation of a small 
crop of corn on the bottom lands. Mr. Lybrook had built a 
small mill on the spring branch. As was the custom in that 
day, when people were few in the country, for the young people 
to assemble or get together on Sunday, and so it happened that 
on Sunday the 7th day of August, 1774, that some of the chil- 
dren of Mrs. Elizabeth Snidow, who has heretofore been men- 
tioned, and a young woman by the name of Scott went on a vis- 
it from the fort to Lybrook's and McGriff's. Mr. Lybrook was 
busy about his mill, McGriflf was in the house, and the young 
people and the smaller children were at the river. Two of the 
young men, a Snidow and Baltzer Lybrook, were out some dis- 
tance in the river bathing, and three or four of the little boys 
were playing in the water near the bank, and a young woman, 
the daughter of Lybrook, was out in the river in a canoe with 
some of the small children therein, when an Indian was dis- 
covered on the high bank overlooking the brink of the river, 
and the alarm was given. The two young men in the river made 
for the opposite shore, the Indians in the mean time began to 
shoot at them. Being expert swimmers they turned upon their 

1654-1753 43 

backs their faces being turned to the Indians, enabled them to 
watch their movments. The four small boys playing in the wa- 
ter near the edge of the river, were, viz. Theophilus Snidow, 
Jacob Snidow, Thomas McGriff, and John Lybrook. There 
were some deep gullies washed down through the banks of the 
river, by way of which wild animals had made their way to the 
river to get water, and when the little boys discovered the In- 
dians, they attempted to escape by way of these breaks in the 
bank, and as they did so the Indians would head them off. Fi- 
nally an Indian stooped down and placed one hand on his knee 
as a rest for his gun, and attempted to shoot one of the young 
men in the river, and at this moment John Lybrook, a boy only 
eleven years old, ran under the muzzle of his gun and made 
for the house. So soon as the Indian fired, he pursued John, 
and coming to one of the gullies which had washed out to about 
the width of twelve feet, the Indian close upon him, John leap- 
ed the gully, and the Indian finding he could not, threw his 
lariat at him, striking him on the back of the head, at the same 
time tumbling into the gully. By this time the two young men 
in the river had reached the opposite shore, and were hidden 
behind the trees, and discovering that John had safely crossed 
the gully, they cried out to him,''Run John run,"and John ran, 
and safely reached the house. While this was transpiring Miss 
Lybrook, who was standing in the rear end of the canoe, was 
pushing the same to the shore, when an Indian, who was hid- 
den in the weeds on the bank of the river came to the water's 
edge and reached out as the canoe touched the bank, and pull- 
ed the front end of it to the bank, and stepping therein, with 
his war club began striking the little children over their heads 
and taking their scalps. The rear end of the canoe being down 
stream, and having floated near to the bank Miss Lybrook 
sprang out and started to the house, the Indian pursuing her. 
Her cries brought to her assistance a large dog, which seized 
the Indian and finally threw him, but the Indian succeeded in 
getting to his feet, and striking the dog with his club, but in 
the meantime, the young woman made her escape. While a 

44 New River Settlements 

part of the Indians were on the river shooting at the young 
men in the river, capturing the boj'S, and killing the children, a 
part of them had gone to the mill and the house. One shot Mr. 
Lybrook, breaking his arm and Mr. McGriflf shot and mortally 
wounded one of the Indians, whose remains were years after- 
wards found under a cliff of rocks not far away from the scene 
of the tragedy. Three of the little boys, Theophilus Snidow, 
Thomas McGriff and Jacob Snidow were captured by the In- 
dians and carried away by them, and after traveling with them 
for some two or three days, they formed a plan of escape, and 
that was to slip away at night. They reached Pipestem Knob, 
now in Summers County, and there camped for the night. 
During the night, and after all things had gotten quiet, two of 
the boys, Jacob Snidow, and Thomas McGriff slipped away 
from the camp, not being able to arouse the third boy without 
awaking the Indians, and thus they were compelled to go with- 
out him. After they had gotten a few hundred yards from the 
camp, knowing that they would probably be pursued, they 
crawled into a hollow log. In a few minutes thereafter the 
Indians discovering their absence raised an alarm and went 
in search of the runaways, and even stood on the log in which 
the boys were hidden, and in broken English cried "Come 
back, get lost." Not being able to find the boys, they gave up 
the hunt and returned to the camp. So soon as everything was 
quiet, the boys came out of their hiding place, struck through 
the woods, and made their way to Culbertson's bottom on the 
New River, where they were afterwards found by some of the 
scouts from the settlement, and who were in pursuit of the In- 
dians. In this attack Mr. Philip Lybrook was wounded, three 
of his children, and a young woman by the name of Scott, two 
of the children, (small girls) of Mrs. Snidow were killed, and 
the three boys captured. The two young men who were in the 
river when the attack began, and had reached the farther bank 
ran across the ridges to the Gunpowder Spring, Harman's fort 
and halloed across the river to the people in the fort to bring a 
canoe and take them over, but the people being afraid they 

1654-1753 45 

were Indians refused to go. After waiting some time, the 
young men being afraid of pursuit by the Indians, plunged in- 
to the river,and a young woman, seeing this insisted that they 
were white men, ran to the river, jumped into a canoe, and 
pushed into the river to met the swimmers, just in time to save 
one of them, who was sinking the third time, and who no doubt 
had taken a cramp by reason of exertion and overheating in 
his run across the ridges. She carried them safely to the fort. 
Who this young woman was, inquiry fails to disclose, and now 
will never be known, but she deserves a place in history. Col- 
onel William Preston was at the time of this attack, the com- 
mandant of the military district of Fincastle, and was then at 
Draper's Meadows fort, then called Preston's fort, and writes 
a letter about this incident on the 13th day of August, 1774, 
which is as follows : "This summer a number of our people have 
been killed and captured by the northern Indians. Thomas 
Hogg, and two men near the mouth of the Great Kanawha, 
Walter Kelly with three or four other persons below the falls 
of that river, William Kelly on Muddy creek, a branch of the 
Greenbrier river, and a young woman at the same time made 
prisoner. One of the scouts, one Shockley, was shot in this 
county and on Sunday the 7th of this inst., a party attacked the 
house of one Laybrook (Lybrook), about 15 miles from this 
place. Old Laybrook was wounded in the arm, three of his 
children, one of them a sucking infant, a young woman, a 
daughter of one Scott, and a child of one widow Snide (Sni- 
dow) were killed. They scalped the children, all but one, and 
mangled them in a most cruel manner. Three boys were made 
prisoners, two of whom made their escape the Wednesday fol- 
lowing, and were found in the woods by the scouts. The Indians 
were pursued by the militia, but were not overtaken." The 
number of Indians in this marauding party numbered six, and 
all this mischief was done by them in a very few minutes. The 
Indians escaped with their prisoners though they were pursued 
by a company of men under a Captain Clendenin. The night of 
the 7th of August was a sad one at the fort. Mrs. Snidow and 

46 New River Settlements 

Mrs. Ljbrook walked the floor throughout the night, weeping 
and wringing their hands, and saying that "they knew where 
the dead children were, but their hearts went out for the little 
boys, captives." The pursuing party followed the Indians down 
the New River until they met the escaped captives, and after 
listening to the story of their escape and calculating that the 
Indians were too far ahead to be overtaken, returned with the 
boys to the settlement, reaching there on the Wednesday after 
their capture on Sunday, much to the delight and joy of their 
mothers and friends. Theophilus Snidow, the other captive 
boy, was carried by the Indians to their towns north of the 
Ohio, and Avhen he had reached his manhood returned to his peo- 
ple, but in delicate health with pulmonary troubles from which 
he shortly died. (Lybrook and Snidow Mss.) 

Poplar Hill on Walker's creek in the now County of Giles 
was settled in the year of 1774 by Samuel Shannon, who came 
from Amherst County, Virginia. After a few years residence 
at that place Mr. Shannon removed to the vicinity of where 
Nashville, Tennessee, is now situated, leaving behind him his 
son Thomas, who is the ancestor of the Shannons of Giles Coun- 
ty. This Thomas Shannon became one of the most prominent 
citizens of his day in the district in which he lived, both in civil 
and militarj^ affairs. Occasion will be presented to refer 
to him again as a captain in command of a company in the 
Revolutionary war. 

In the Spring of 1773 a few individuals had begun to make 
improvements on the Kanawha river below the falls, and some 
land adventurers were making surveys in the same section. 
To these men Captain John Stuart, of Greenbrier, in the spring 
oC 1774, had by direction of Colonel Charles Lewis, sent a mes- 
senger to Inform them that apprehensions were entertained of 
serious trouble with the Indians and advising them to remove 
from that section. When Stuart's messenger arrived at the 
cabin of Walter Kelly at the mouth of Kelly's Creek on the 
Kanawha, twelve niiles below the falls, he found Captain John 
Field Culpeper engaged in making surveys. Kelly at once sent 

1654-1753 47 

his family to the Greenbrier valley under the care of a young- 
er brother, but Captain Field, regarding the apprehension as 
groundless, determined to remain with Kelly. Very soon after 
Kelly's family had left the cabin and while yet within hearing 
of it, a party of Indians approached unperceived and shot Kel- 
ly, and rushed to the cabin where they killed a negro woman, 
and took prisoner a young Scotsman. Captain Field escaped 
and on his way to the Greenbrier settlement met Captain Stu- 
art with a body of men, who on being informed of what had oc- 
cured decided to return to the settlements and prepare them 
for defense. 

In a few weeks after this another party of Indians came to 
the settlements in the Greenbrier section and killed Mr. Kelly, 
the brother who had conducted the family from Kanawha, and 
captured his neice. These outrages along the border impell- 
ed the Virginia government to take action to repress them, and 
to punish the Indians by the destruction of their towns north 
of the Ohio; and it was determined to raise an army for that 
purpose. The army destined for this expedition was composed 
of volunteers and militia, mostly from the counties west of the 
Blue Ridge, and consisted as already stated of two divisions. 
Lord Dunmore in person took command of the troops raised in 
Frederick and Dunmore (the latter now Shenandoah), counties 
and the southern division composed of different companies 
raised in Botetourt, Augusta and Fincastle with one company 
under Captain Field from the County of Culpeper, east of the 
Blue Ridge, and two companies from the Holstein and Watauga 
settlements under Captains Evan Shelby and Herbert, and a 
company under Captain William Russell from the Clinch, and 
an independant company from Bedford under Captain Buford. 
These latter companies formed a part of the forces to be com- 
manded by Colonel William Christian. Near the first day of 
September the troops commanded by General Lewis rendez- 
voused at camp Union, now Lewisburg, and consisted of two 
regiments commanded by Colonel William Fleming of Boter- 
tourt, and Colonel Charles Lewis of Augusta, and numbering 

48 New Kiver Settlements 

about four hundred men each. The third regiment, under Col- 
onel William Christian, was composed as above stated. The 
force under General Lewis consisted of about eleven hundred 
men, and set out on its march to the mouth of the Kanawha on 
the eleventh day of Sepetember, 1774. The northern division of 
the army composed as herein before stated was under the im- 
mediate command of Colonel Adam Stephens. With this di- 
vision was Lord Dunmore and Major John Connoly. Taking 
into consideration the forces already in the field under Major 
Angus McDonald and Captain William Crawford,this northern 
division numbered some twelve hundred (1200) men; along 
with which as scouts, were George Rogers Clark, Simon Kenton 
and Michael Cresap. The country between Camp Union and 
the mouth of the Kanawha river was a trackless forest so 
rough, rugged and mountainous as to render the march of the 
army exceedingly tedious and laborious. Captain Mathew Ar- 
buckle, who had been on the Kanawha some years previous, be- 
came the guide for Lewis's army and after a march of several 
days it reached the Ohio river on the sixth day of October, and 
fixed its encampment on the point of land between that river 
and the Great Kanawha. Owing to some difference between 
General Lewis and Colonel Field as to priority of rank, and 
Field being in command of an independant volunteer company 
not raised by the order of Governor Dunmore, but brought in- 
to the field by his own exertion, after his escape from the In- 
dians at Kelly's, induced him to separate his men from the 
main body of the army on its march and to take a different 
route or way than the one pursued by it, depending largely 
on his knowledge of the country to lead him by a practicable 
route to the river. While Field's company was encamped on 
the banks of the Little Meadow river, a branch of the Gauley, 
two of his men. Clay and Coward were sent out to hunt deer 
for the company and were attacked by the Indians, Clay was 
killed, but Coward made his way back to camp, first having 
killed one of the Indians. No doubt these Indians were simply 
spies watching the movements of Lewis's army and the one 

1654-1753 49 

who escaped was able to make report to his fellows on the 

Early on the morning of Monday, the tenth (10) day of Oc- 
tober, two soldiers left the camp and proceeded up the Ohio in 
quest of deer. When they had gone about two miles from the 
camp, they unexpectedly came in sight of a large number of 
Indians rising from their encampment, and who discovering 
the two hunters fired upon them and killed one. The other es- 
caped unhurt, and running to the camp communicated the in- 
telligence, ''that he had seen a body of the enemy, covering four 
acres of ground as closely as they could stand by the side of 
each other." There is a difference in authors who have written 
upon the subject as to who these two men were. Withers in his 
Chronicles says, that they were James Mooney, of Russell's 
company, and Joseph Hughey, of Shelby's company, and that 
Hughey was killed by a shot fired by Tavenour Russ, a white 
renagade in Cornstalk's party; while, Haywood the author of 
the Civil History of Tennessee says, these men were James Ro- 
bertson and Valentine Sevier, of Shelby's company. Both ac- 
counts may be correct in this, that there may have been four 
men out hunting deer, instead of two. 

The main part of the army was immediately ordered out by 
General Lewis, one wing commanded by Colonel Charles Lewis 
and the other by Colonel William Fleming. Forming in two 
lines they had proceeded for a short distance when they met the 
Indians, and the fierce combat began which lasted throughout 
the day and finally resulted in the withdrawal of the Indian 
army. The loss on the part of the Virginians was severe in of- 
ficers and men, being seventy five (75) killed and one hundred 
and forty (140) wounded. 

The following gentlemen with others of high reputation in 
private life, were officers in the Battle of Point Pleasant. 
General Isaac Sh^by, fihe first Governor of Kentucky, and aftefh- 
wards secretary of war; General Evan Shelby one of the most 
favorite citizens of Tennessee;- Colonel William Fleming, and 

50 New River Settlements 

acting governor of Virginia during the revolutionary war;- 
General Andrew Moore, of Rockbridge, the first man ever elec- 
ted in Virginia from the country west of the Blue Ridge to the 
senate of the United States; Colonel John Stasrt, of Green- 
brier; General Tate, of Washington county, Virignia; Col- 
onel William McKee, of Lincoln county, Kentucky; Colonel 
John Steele, at one time governor of the territory of Mississip- 
pi; Colonel Charles Camron, of Bath; General Bazeleel Wells, 
of Ohio, and General George Mathews, a distinguished oflScer in 
the war of the Revolution, the hero of Brandywine, German- 
town and Guilford, Governor of Georgia, and a senator from 
that state in the Congress of the United States. The salvation 
of the American army at Germantown is ascribed in Johnston's 
life of General Greene, to the bravery and good conduct of two 
regiments, one of which was commanded by General, then Col- 
onel Matthews. 

In this battle of Point Pleasant was John Sevier, who be- 
came a most distinguished citizen of Tennessee, and who upon 
entering upon the expedition to Point Pleasant regarded and 
believed himself to be a citizen of and living in Virginia, when 
in fact, he at that time was within the territory of North Caro- 

Another distinguished man in this battle was Captain Wil- 
liam Russel, in whose company was Reece Bowen, who distin- 
guished himself in the battle at King's Mountain in which he 
laid down his life for his country. 

The battles of the Alamance and Point Pleasant were in re 
ality the opening battles of the American revolution, but be 
hind the battle of Point Pleasant, and which urged it on and 
brought it about were British emissaries, who had doubtless 
urged the Indians on to deeds of bloodshed and murder with 
the view and set purpose of destroying the colonists. 

No attempt has been made herein to give full details of this 
last mentioned battle as this has been fully done by others. 
Although a short respite occurred after the battle, the years fol- 
lowing 1774 were filled with horrors beyond description. All 

1775-1794 51 

along the border settlements the savages made repeated forays, 
attacking the defenseless inhabitants, killing, plundering, burn- 
ing and ravaging the country. 

On the twenty fifth day of April, 1774, there was granted by 
Dunmore, Royal Governor of Virginia, to Mitchell Clay assig- 
nee of Lieutenant John Draper, a tract of eight hundred acres 
of land on the Bluestone creek in Fincastle county ; this tract 
was then known and is still known as the "Clover Bottom," sit- 
uated about five miles north of Princeton the present county 
seat of Mercer county. It is a very beautiful, rich body of bot- 
tom land, and one of the most valuable tracts to be found in 
this section of the country. By the terms of this grant, a copy 
of which is on file in the clerk's office of the county court of 
Mercer county, the grantee was to take possession of this tract 
of land within three years from the date of the grant. Mitchell 
Clay, at the date of the grant, lived in the county of Franklin, 
Virginia, and exchanged a negro woman and her children to 
John Draper for this land and took from Draper an assign- 
ment of the plat and certificate of survey, upon which the 
grant was issued to Clay as the assignee. The land script or 
warrant upon which the survey was based, was issued to Lieu- 
tenant John Draper for services rendered by him in the 
French and Indian war. 




Mitchell Clay and family settled on Clover Bottom — Mathew 
French and family settle on Wolf Creek — Declaration 
of the Fincastle men — Fincastle County abolished and 
Montgomery, Washington and Kentucky Counties creat- 
ed — Captain James Moore visits Abb's Valley — Peter 
Wright, the hunter, in the northern valleys of Peter's and 
East River Mountains — Greenbrier County created and 
its bounaries — Rev. John Alderson in the Greenbrier Val- 
ley — Joseph Cloyd settles on Back Creek — The family of 

52 New River Settlements 

Colonel James Graham attacked by Indians— Donnally's 
Fort attacked — Moredock O. McKensey and family at- 
tacked by Indians — Captain Thomas Burke, Michael 
Woods, John Floyd, and John Lucas in command of the 
Forts 1777-78 — Lybrooks, Chapmans, Snidows and others 
on the frontier — Edward Hale and Joseph Hare in New 
River Valley 1779 — Tory uprising on upper New River 
suppressed by Cloyd, Campbell, Crockett and Cleveland — 
David Johnson and family, from Culpeper County, settles 
in the New River Valley — Illinois County created — Thom- 
as Ingles locates in Wright's Valley and removes to Burke's 
Garden — In September 1779 John Pauley and wife and 
others attacked by Indians on East River — 1780, John 
Toney and family, from lower Virginia, settle at the mouth 
of East River — Family by name of Christian settle on East 
River — John G. Davidson and Richard Bailey with their 
families settle at Beaver Fond — William Wilburn and Da- 
vid Hughes, from North Carolina, and John and Beujainine 
White, from Amherst County, Virginia, settle on Sugar 
Run — Major Joseph Cloyd in October 1780 leads troops to 
North Carolina and fights battles at Shallow Ford of Yad- 
kin, Captain Geo. Pearis wounded — Battle of King's Moun- 
tain, part of Montgomery county men killed in this battle 
under Lieutenants Reece Bowen and James Moore, Bow- 
en killed in action — Battles of Wetzel's Mill and Guilford 
court house — Captain Thomas Shannon leads a company 
of New River Valley men in these battles — Captain Geo. 
Pearis settles on New River in the spring of 1782 — Adam 
Caperton killed at Estill's defeat — The country alarmed 
by the attack on Thomas Ingles, military called out — 
Swarms of emigrants cross the Alleghanies in 1782-8-4 
and settle in part in New River Valley, and others go to 
Kentucky — Peters, Walker, Smith, Stowers and others 
come in 1782 — Indian raiding pary penetrate the Blue- 
stone and upper Wolf Creek section, steal horses and es- 
cape — Mitchell Clay's family attacked by Indians at Clo- 
ver Bottom in 1783 — Captain Geo. Pearis kills an Indian 
on New River — James Moore, Jr., captured by Indians 
in Abb's Valley — New State of Franklin , effort to en- 
large its boundaries by Campbell and others — Russell 
county created in 1785 — Captain James Moore and his 
family attacked by forty Shawnee Indians in 1786 and 
killed, captured and destroyed— 1787, Federal Convention 
assembles in Philadelphia, frames a Constitution and sub- 
mits it to the States— 1788, November 12th, Captain Henry 
Harman and his sons fight a battle with the Indians on the 
banks of the Tug— Harman's battle song— 1789, William 

1775-1794 53 

Wheatley killed by Indians — Family of James Roark de- 
stroyed — 1789, October, Mrs. Virginia Wiley captured — 
Indian marauding band on head of Clinch and Bluestone 
in 1790 — Birth of Jonathan Bailey — Wythe County crea- 
ted — Family of Andrew Davidson captured by the Indians 
in 1791, Davidson's long search for his wife and her rescue 
— Upper Clinch and Bluestone raided by Indians in July, 
1792, pursued by Major Robert Crockett, Gilbert killed and 
Lusk captured — Lusk and Mrs. Wiley escape in the fall 
of 1792 — John G. Davidson murdered by Indians and a 
white man, one Rice, on the 8th day of March, 1793 — In- 
dians pursued, overtaken at Island of Guyandotte, skir- 
mish follows — Petition of Robert Crockett, Joseph David- 
son and fifty others to the Governor of Virginia — Alarm in 
the New River section and Governor calls out a military 
company under Captain Hugh Caperton which is stationed 
on the Kanawha, Daniel Boone the commissariat — Ma- 
rauding party of Indans in 1793, the last on the waters of 
the upper Clinch and Bluestone — Wayne's great victory 
over the United Indian Tribes in Ohio on August the twen- 
tieth, 1794, brings peace to the Virginia Border — Swarms 
of land speculators and surveyors on the Ohio Waters, 
north and west of the settlements — Numerous and large 
grants of land to Robert Morris, the patriot and finan- 
cier — Grants to Pollard, Hopkins, Young, McLaughlin, 
Moore and Beckley, Bliss, Dwight and Granger, Rutter 
and Etting, Dr. John Dillion, Dewitt Clinton, Robert Mc- 
Cullock, Wilson Gary Nicholas, Wilson^ Pickett, Smith 
and others — Manners and customs of the border people, 
their religious life — Early Ministers. 

Mitchell Clay (1) settled on the Clover Bottom tract of land 
hereinbefore referred to in the year of 1775. Save one, this was 
the first white settlement made within what is now the present 
territorial limits of Mercer County. Andrew Culbertson's 
settlement on Culbertson's Bottom, which was once a part 
of the territory of Mercer County, was made twenty 
years prior to that of Clay on the Clover Bottom. Clay 
and his family remained on this land undisturbed for a period 
of about eight years, but were finally attacked by the Indians, 

(1) Richard Bailey, son of the elder Richard, the Settler, made 
about 1790 the first settlement at the mouth of Widemouth Creek on 
Bluestone, a few miles above where Clay settled in 1775. 

54 New Eiver Settlements 

part of the family killed, and one captured, a full account of 
which will be given herein later on. 

In the year 1775 Mathew French and his family, from the 
County of Culpeper, Virginia, settled on Wolf Creek, about 
six miles from its mouth, now in Giles County, on what is 
known as the Boyd farm. 

Settlements were made by the Bromflelds on New Kiver 
about the mouth of Big Stony Creek, in 1776, and the same year 
by the Hatfields on said Creek, on what is now known as the 
David J. L. Snidow place, where the Hatfields erected a fort. 
On Lick Branch, flowing into Big Stony Creek from the north, 
In the early days, there was a deer lick, and on an occassion it 
happened that a Bromfield and Hatfield went the same night 
to watch this lick, neither knowing that the other was there, 
or to be there. One took the other for a bear moving around 
in the brush and shot and killed him. 

On the 20th day of January, 1775, the Freemen of Fincastle 
County assembled at Lead Mines, and made a declaration which 
was the precursor of that of July 4th, 1776, made by the Con- 
gress at Philadelphia. This declaration of the Fincastle men 
foreshadowing American independence was the first one made 
in America, and it so fully breathes the spirit of independence 
and freedom that it is here inserted in full : 

"In obedience to the resolves of the Continental Congress a 
meeting of the freeholders of Fincastle County, in Virginia, 
was held on the 20th day of January, 1775, and who, after ap- 
proving of the association formed by that august body in behalf 
of all the colonies, and subscribing thereto, proceeded to the 
election of a committee, to see the same carried punctually into 
execution, when the following gentlemen were nominated: 

The Eeverend Charles Cummings, Colonel William Preston, 
Colonel William Christian, Captain Stephen Trigg, Major Ar- 
thur Campbell, Major William Ingles, Captain Walter Crock- 
ett, Captain John Montgomery, Captain James McGavock, 
Captain William Campbell, Captain Thomas Madison, Cap- 

1775-1794 55 

tain Evan Shelby and Lieutenant William Edmondson. After 
the election, the committee made choice of Colonel William 
Christian for their chairman, and appointed Mr. David 
Campbell to be clerk. 

The following address was then unanimously agreed to by 
the people of the County and is as follows: 

To the Honourable Peyton Randolph, Esquire, Richard Hen- 
ry Lee, George Washington, Patrick Henry, Junior, Richard 
Bland, Benjamin Harrison and Edmund Pendleton, Esquires, 
the delegates from this colony who attended the Continental 
Congress held at Philadelphia: Gentlemen: Had it not been 
for our remote situation, and the Indian war which we were 
lately engaged in, to chastise these cruel and savage people for 
the many murders and depredations they have committed 
amongst us, now happily terminated under the auspices of our 
present worthy Governor, his Excellency, the Right Honour- 
able Earl of Dunmore, we should have before this time made 
known to you our thankfulness for the very important services 
you have rendered to your country, in conjunction with the 
worthy delegates from the other provinces. Your noble efforts 
for reconciling the mother country and the colonies, on rational 
and constitutional principles, and your pasifick, steady and 
uniform conduct in that arduous work, immortalize you in 
the annals of your country. We heartily concur in your res- 
olutions and shall, in every instance, strictly and invariably 
adhere thereto. 

We assure you, gentlemen, and all our countrymen, that we 
are a people whose hearts overflow with love and duty to our 
lawful Sojvereign, George the Third, whose illustrious House fop 
several successive reigns have been the guardians of the civil 
and religious rights and liberties of British subjects, as settled 
at the glorious revolution; that we are willing to risk our lives 
in the service of his Majesty for the support of the Protestant 
Religion, and the rights and liberties of his subjects, as they 
have been established by compact, Law and Ancient Charters. 
We are heartily grieved at the differences which now subsist 

56 New Riveb Settlements 

between tlie parent state and the colonies, and most urgently 
wish to see harmony restored on an equitable basis, and by the 
most lenient measures that can be devised by the heart of man. 
Many of us and our forefathers left our native land, consid- 
ering it as a Kingdom subjected to inordinate power ; we cross- 
ed the Atlantic and explored this then wilderness, bordering 
on many Natives or Savages and surrounded by mountains 
almost inaccessible to any but those various Savages, w^ho have 
insistantly been committing depredations on us since our first 
settling the Country. These fatigue^i and dangers were patient- 
ly encountered, supported by the pleasing hope of enjoying 
these rights and liberties which had been granted to Virginiiins, 
and denied us in our native country, and of transmitting them 
inviolate to our posterity; but even to this remote region the 
hand of enmity and unconstitutional power hath proceeded us 
to strip of that liberty and property with which God, Nature, 
and the Rights of Humanity have visited us. We are ready 
and willing to contribute all in our power for the support of 
his Majesty's Government if applied to considerately, and 
when grants are made by our own Representatives, but cannot 
think of submitting our liberty or property to the power of a 
venal British Parliament, or the will of a greedy ministry. 

We by no means desire to shake off our duty or allegiance 
to our lawful Sovereign, but on the contrary shall ever glory 
in being the royal subjects of the Protestant Prince, descended 
from such illustrious progenitors, so long as we can enjoy the 
free exercise of our religion as Protestants, and of our liberties 
and properties as British subjects. But if no pacific measures 
shall be proposed or adopted by Great Britain, and our enemies 
will attempt to dragoon us out of these inestimable privileges 
which we are entitled to as subjects, and to reduce us to a state 
of slavery, we declare that we are deliberately determined nev- 
er to surrender them to any power upon earth but at the ex- 
pense of our lives. 

These are real though unpolished sentiments of liberty, and 
in them we are resolved to live or die." 

1775-1794 57 

We are, gentlemen, with the most perfect esteem and re- 

Your most obedient servants," 
From the American Archives,4th Series, 1st Volume, page 1166 

The men who made and promulgated this declaration were 
then, and afterwards became among the most distinguished cit- 
izens who crossed the Alleghanies, and were first and foremost 
in fomenting and sustaining our glorious revolution. Evidence 
is not wanting that between 1755 and 1758 some of these men, 
viz., the Crocketts, McGavocks and others, among them the Gra- 
hams, Tates and Sawyers had located in the section of country 
now in Pulaski and Wythe counties, but on account of Indian 
incursions were driven back into the Rockbridge country from 
whence they came, and that later they came again and remain- 
ed permanently. It is generally understood that the Crocketts 
McGavocks, Grahams and Sawyers were all of Scotch-Irish ex- 
traction. Among these people were found the bravest and 
most valiant soldiers in all our wars. 

In October, 1776, the general assembly of Virginia by an act 
abolished the county of Fincastle, and out of its territory crea- 
ted the counties of Kentucky, Washington and Montgomery. 
The following is the boundary lines of said coun;ie9 as given in 
said act, viz: 

^'That from and after the last day of December next ensuing, 
the said county of Fincastle shall be divided into three coun- 
ties : that is to say, all that part thereof which lies to the south 
and westw^ard of a line beginning on the Ohio at the mouth of 
the Great Sandy Creek and running up said creek and the main 
line beginning at the Cumberland Mountain where the line of 
north or northeasternly branch thereof to the Great Laurel 
Ridge or Cumberland Mountain thence, south-westardly along 
the said mountains to the line of North Carolina, shall be one 
district County called and known by the name of Kentucky : 
And all of that part of the County of Fincastle included in the 
line beginning at the Cumberland Mountain where the line of 

58 New River Settlements 

Kentucky County intersects the North Carolina line to the top 
of Iron Mountain, thence along the same eastwardly to the 
source of the South Fork of the Holstein River: thence, west- 
wardly along the highest part of the highlands, ridges and 
mountains that divide the waters of the Tennessee from those 
of the Great Kanawha to the most easterly source of the Clinch 
River : thence, westwardly along the top of the mountains that 
divide the waters of the Clinch from those of the Great Kan- 
awha and Sandy Creek to the line of Kentucky County, thence 
along the same to the beginning, shall be one otlier district 
County and called and known by the name of Washington, and 
all the residue of the Countj- of Fincastle, shall be one other 
distinct County and shall be called and known by the name of 

The Justices to meet and hold Court for Kentucky County 
at Harrodsburg : Washington at Black's fort : for Montgomery 
at Fort Chiswell." 

The Representatives of Fincastle County- in the Convention 
which assembled at Williamsburg, and which adopted the first 
republican constitution ever adopted in America, were Arthur 
Campbell and William Russel. Arthur Campbell was born in 
the valley of Virginia and William Russell in Culpeper County, 
Virginia, the latter in 1748 and died in Fayette County, Ken- 
tucky, July 23rd, 1825. He was a captain at the battle of Point 
Pleasant, member of the Virginia legislature of 1780, member ot 
the Kentucky legislature from the foundation of the State to 
1808, again in 1823, colonel of the Seventh United States Infan- 
try in 1811, and commanded on the frontiers of Indiana, Illi- 
nois and Missouri. 

Colonel William Christian was the Representative of Fin- 
castle County in the year of 1776, in the House of Delegates. 

In the year of 1770 John McComas and Thomas H. Napier 
with their families came from western Maryland and settled 
on the New River below the mouth of Walker's Creek, but sub- 
sequently removed to the neighborhood of where Pearisburg, 
Virginia, is now situated, and they, together with the Hall's, 

1775-1794 59 

built Fort Branch on the land lately owned by Charles D. 
French, Esq. 

Peter's Mountain was named for Peter Wright, an old back- 
woodsman who about 1776 explored and hunted along the val- 
leys at its northern base, as well as along the valley at the base 
of East River Mountain, in which latter valley the present city 
of Bluefield, West Virginia, is located, and this valley is still 
called Wright's valley, for the same Peter Wright. 

John Alderson, senior, born in England, came to New Jersey 
about 1737 and married Miss Curtis. Mr. Alderson became a 
Baptist minister, and finally removed to Rockingham County^ 
Virginia. He had a son John, who also became a Baptist min- 
ister, and who married Miss Carroll of Rockingham County. 
John Alderson, Junior, visited the Greenbrier section of coun- 
try in 1775, and selected a body of land on the Greenbrier river, 
which he had surveyed, covering the site of the present town of 
Alderson in Monroe County. He returned to Rockingham, and 
in 1777 removed to his land on the Greenbrier and built his 
cabin where the Alderson Hotel now stands. He was a man of 
great intelligence and indomitable will and energy, and was 
the first Baptist preacher who carried the Gospel into that re- 
gion ; he organized the Greenbrier Baptist Church in 1781, and 
through his instrumentality a number of other churches 
and the Greenbrier Association were organized. His life was 
a long and useful one, and made an impress on the people in 
the section in which he lived that will be felt by generations 
yet unborn. 

On the west bank of the Greenbrier River in the now county 
of Summers, in the year of 1777 lived Colonel James Graham 
with his family. One night in the early autumn of that year 
after the family had retired, a knock was heard at the door, 
and a voice called in broken English '^open door" saying at the 
same time by way of assurance, "Me no Injun." At the time 
there was in the house only Colonel Graham and his wife, their 
children, Elizabeth and a young brother occupied an attached 
cabin off from the main building. Being refused admittance. 

60 New River Settlements 

the Indians witlidrew a short distance and began firing through 
the door with their rifles, and finally discovered in the detach- 
ed cabin the presence of the two children, they fired through 
the clapboards and shattered the little boy's leg with a rifle 
ball, and then proceeding into the house, they took both chil- 
dren, and started off seemingly well satisfied with their success, 
and went into camp a short distance away. The next morning 
the little boy being unable to travel they dashed his brains out 
against a tree. The little girl, Elizabeth, only about eight years 
old was carried by them into captivity, where she remained 
about eight years, and was finally ransomed by her father in 
1785. She came home and married a man by the name of 
Stodghill, and lived to a ripe old age. The name Stodghill 
is called by the people of Monroe and Greenbrier Valley, "Stur- 

The Legislature of Virginia in October, 1777, created the 
County of Greenbrier, the act to take effect March first, 1778, 
which act reads as follows; "That from and after the first 
day of March next ensuing, the said county and parish of Bote- 
tourt, shall be divided by a line beginning on the top of the 
ridge which divides the eastern from the western waters, where 
the line between Augusta and Botetourt crosses the same, and 
running, thence the same course continued N. 55 W. to the 
Ohio, thence beginning at the said ridge at the said line of 
Botetourt and Augusta, running along the top of said ridge, 
passing the Sweet Springs to the top of Peter's Mountain, 
thence along the said mountain to the line of Montgomery 
County, thence along the same mountain to the Kanawha or 
New River, thence down the said river to the Ohio." 

Colonel William Preston some time previous to the month 
of August, 1774, removed from his estate at Greenfield, near 
Amsterdam on the James, to Draper's Meadow, the name of 
which as before stated, he changed to Smithfield. There came 
with him or shortly thereafter, a young man by the name of 
Joseph Cloyd, the son of David Cloyd, whose wife and son 
John were murdered by the Indians in March 1764, about five 

1775-1794 61 

miles west of the present town of Fincastle, Virginia. As stat- 
ed in a letter from Mrs. Elizabeth Campbell Adams, of Radford, 
Virginia, to the author, the maiden name of the wife of David 
Clojd, was Miss Margaret Campbell. It had been stated by 
writers, and perhaps believed by his family that Joseph Cloyd 
settled on Back Creek in what is now the County of Pulaski, 
Virginia, about the year of 1775. This is believed to be a mis- 
take as to the year, as the declaration of the Fincastle men 
was made on the 20th day of January, 1775, and Mr. Cloyd 
would certainly have been at that meeting unless sick or absent 
from the country, and it is most likely therefore that had Mr. 
Cloyd been at home or at the residence of Colonel William 
Preston he would have been among the men who signed 
that declaration. The absence of his name indicates in the ab- 
sence of explanation that he did not settle so early as 1775 on 
Back Creek, as has been stated. 

Mr. Cloyd became one of the most highly honored citizens 
of the county, both in civic and military affairs. He left be- 
hind him wealthy, highly honored, and respected descendants. 
A full sketch of Joseph Cloyd and his civil and military re- 
cord will be given in the Appendix to be added to this work. 

From the date of the building of Fort Chiswell by Colonel 
William Byrd in 1758 and from 1759 and after, on and along 
the upper waters of the New River and on the Holstein, settle- 
ments were made by the McGavocks, Campbells, McFarlands, 
Howes, Hoges, and others, but of which little has been or will 
be said in this work, as being beyond its scope, and beside 
this, the history of this people has been so fully, clearly and in- 
terestingly presented by Mr. Summers in his "His. of South 
western Virginia and of Washington County," that he has left 
little, if anything, additional to be related. The chief, reason 
for mentioning Mr. Joseph Cloyd is, that his history, and that 
of his family in part, is so closely connected with the history 
of the Middle New River people that their history would not be 
complete without that of Mr. Cloyd. 

After the battle of Point Pleasant the Virginia government 

62 New River Settlements 

built Fort Randolph at the mouth of the Great Kanawha, and 
there established a military post, in command of which was 
Captain McKee. In the month of May, 1778, a force of some 
two hundred Indians attacked this fort, but were finally beat- 
en off by the garrison and compelled to withdraw. The Indians 
proceeded up the Kanawha and Captain McKee being satisfied 
from the direction taken by them, that their objective point 
was the Greenbrier settlements, called for volunteers to go im- 
mediately to the settlements and warn the settlers of the ap- 
proach of the Indians. Phillip Hammond and John Pryor at 
once volunteered, and being rigged out as Indian Scouts, 
they reached the settlement safely, and their timely notice, no 
doubt, saved a terrible massacre. 

Before passing to the attack on Donnally'g Fort attention 
will be called to the dangerous situation along the border in 
the year of 1777. Outrages and murders were committed by 
the Indians upon the white settlers in many places, and the 
people found it necessary to flee to the forts for safety. Along 
the middle settlements on New River from Barger's Fort' on 
Tom's Creek to Donnally's Fort on Rader's Run, and Cook's 
Fort on Indian Creek the settlers were kept huddled in the 
forts during almost the whole summer. At Barger's Fort Cap- 
tain John Floyd was in command of the military. Christian 
Snidow at the Snidow and Lybrook Fort at the mouth of Sink- 
ing Creek, Captain Thomas Burke at Hatfield's Fort on Big 
Stony Creek, Captain Michael Woods at Woods' Fort, Cap- 
tain John Lucas at Fort Field on Culbertson's bottom. In 
these Forts or some of them were John Lybrook, John Chap- 
man, Isaac Chapman and others and some of these people were 
with Captain John Lucas scouting along the New River about 
Culbertson's bottom, and stationed at Farley's Fort and Fort 

Donnally's Fort was situated about ten miles west of the 
present town of Lewisburg, on Rader's Run. As soon as the in- 
telligence of the approach of the Indians was given to Donnally 
by the two scouts he had all the neighbors advised of it, and 

1775-1794 63 

in the course of the night they gathered into the Fort about 
twenty one men. He also dispatched a messenger to Captain 
John Stuart at the fort at Lewisburg advising him of the ad- 
vance of the Indians. Full preparation was made to resist the 
attack, which was begun the next morning at an early hour. 
Captain Stuart with Colonel Samuel Lewis went with sixty 
men to the relief of Donnally and succeeded in entering the 
fort without loss. During the attack four of the whites were 
killed, viz : Pritcher before the attack commenced, James Burns 
and Alexander Ochiltree as they were coming to the house ear- 
ly in the morning and James Graham while in the fort. Seven- 
teen of the Indians lay dead in the yard, and others of their 
slain were carried off by them. Until the arrival of Stuart and 
Lewis, there were twenty one men in the fort which was aug- 
mented by their force to eighty seven, while the Indian army 
exceeded two hundred. The Indians failing in the attack with- 
drew and retreated. While this attack upon Donnally's Fort 
was being threatened and made, a number of men gathered 
at Jarrett's and Keeney's Fort, made up in part of men from 
Captain Joseph Renfroe's company from Bedford County, 
among them Josiah Meadows who makes a full statement in 
regard thereto in his declaration for a pension before the Coun- 
ty court of Giles County in the year of 1832. 

From the Chapman Ms. in posession of the author it appears 
that Moredock O. McKensey, who came from Culpeper Counly 
with John and Richard Chapman and settled at the mouth of 
Walker's Creek in 1771, had removed in the spring of 1778 to 
the mouth of Wolf Creek, on New River, and built his cabin be- 
low and near the spring on the bottom, a few yards south of the 
house in which the late Joseph Hare recently resided. McKen- 
sey's family consisted of himself, his wife, his sons Isaac and 
Henley, and his daughters Sallie, Elizabeth, Margaret, Mary 
Anne, a nursing child and a hired girl — a Miss Estridge, a 
daughter of Richard Estridge. The people who were beginning 
settlements had no enclosed boundaries in which to place their 
stock, and they belled their horses and turned them out into 

64 New River Settlements 

the woods. Mr. McKensey had done so with his horses, and 
on the morning of the day on which the attack was made upon 
his family by the Indians, which was in the month of May of 
1778, they could not hear the bells, and supposing that the 
horses had attempted to go back to Walker's Creek, the place 
from which he had recently removed, he took with him his 
eldest son, Isaac, then about twenty years of age, and started to 
look for the horses. Henley, the next son, was close by the 
house, engaged in making hills in which to plant sweet pota- 
toes. Mr. McKensey and his son went up New River and when 
they had reached the top of what is known as Big Hill, near 
where Pearisburg station on the line of the Norfolk & Western 
Railway Company is now situated, they heard the report of 
the discharge of a gun in the direction of their home, and they 
immediately turned and ran rapidly back, meeting at Wolf 
Creek the Estridge girl, who gave them information as to what 
had occurred at the house. The Indians lying in wait and 
watching, had seen McKensey and his son go away from the 
house, and waiting long enough for them to get a suflScient 
distance not to interfere with their outrages, began their work 
by shooting young Henley dead on the spot. They then rushed 
to the house, but Mrs. McKensey and her oldest daughter, Sal- 
lie, closed and barred the door. They had no weapons inside 
save an axe. One of the Indians pressed against the door until 
he got his head and shoulders inside the same, when the daugh- 
ter, Sallie, with an axe struck him a blow on the shoulder giving 
to him a very dangerous wound. In the meantime another one 
of the Indians was also pressing against the door, and it yield- 
ed and flew open, and then began a scuffle between the Indian 
and Sallie, he attempting to take her as his prisoner. She is 
said to have been a most beautiful woman, with long flowing 
black hair, and it is supposed that the Indian did not desire to 
kill her, but to capture her. She was strong and athletic and 
succeeded in repeatedly throwing the Indian to the floor, but 
he being in nearly a nude condition, she could not hold him 
down. In the last struggle she discovered his butcher knife 

1775-1794 65 

in the sheathe in his belt and made an attempt to get it, but 
failing and the Indian discovering this, he drew the knife and 
stabbed her through the heart, and then killed the mother. 
The small child, Mary Anne, had been gathered up by the hired 
girl, Estridge, who had slipped into the shed of the house, and 
concealed herself in a large trough made for holding soap. 
The child began to fret and cry and the young woman fearing 
that this would disclose to the Indians her hiding place, let go 
the child, and it ran out into the room, and an Indian caught 
it by its ankles and feet, and dashed out its brains against 
the door facing. The babe though scalped, was found by the 
father when he reached the house still alive, and trying to nurse 
at the breast of its dead mother. The Indians took the two 
small girls, Elizabeth and Margaret, aged respectively eight 
and ten years, prisoners, and then ransacked the house, taking 
a gourd filled with sugar and a large loaf of bread, which had 
just been baked by the motlier, and departed. As soon as the 
Indians left Miss Estridge came out from her hiding place, and 
ran up the river to Wolf Creek, where she met Mr. McKensey 
and his son as hereinbefore related. On this same morning 
these Indians had killed Philip Kavanah, and captured Fran- 
cis Denny, a lad of about fifteen or sixteen years. The Indians 
did not fire McKensey's house for the reason no doubt, that 
the smoke would attract his attention or that of some of the 
settlers in the neighborhood, and cause rapid pursuit before 
they had time to get away with their prisoners and booty. 
Leaving McKensey's house they dropped down the river a few 
hundred yards to Perdue's Mill branch, up which they traveled 
to its source, crossing over tlie divide to the house of Mathew 
French at the Boyd place on Wolf Creek. In passing up Per- 
due's Mill branch the Indians took out their bloody knives and 
cut the loaf of bread offering a portion thereof to the little 
girls, who refused to take or eat it, until finally an Indian 
went to the branch and washed the knife. When they reached 
the house of French they found it and the premises deserted, 
he, having learned that the Indians were in the neighborhood. 

66 New River Settlements 

had taken his family and fled to the McComas-Napier-Hall 
Fort, since known as Fort Branch, situated as hereinbefore 
described. Mr. French had left home so hastily as to be un- 
able to take but little with him, leaving behind all of his house- 
hold furniture, his horses cattle and other stock. The Indians 
ripped up his feather beds, and scattered the feathers, threw 
down his corn cribs, and turned the stock on his corn, killed 
a horse and took off his hide, in which they carried away his 
table ware, which consisted of a few pewter plates and cups, 
and probably some knives and forks which becoming burden- 
some to carry, they buried beside a log on East River Mountain. 
They did not set fire to French's house for the same reason 
that influenced them not to fire McKensey's house. On leaving 
French's house they went directly over East River Mountain, in- 
to what is now Mercer County and dropped in at the mouth 
of East River, and thence down New River by way of the Blue- 
stone and to Paint Creek, Kanawha, the Ohio, and on to their 
towns in the neighborhood of Detroit and the Lakes. The two 
McKensey girls remained in captivity for a period of eighteen 
years, and were not ransomed, and did not return until after 
Wayne's victory in 1794. Their father made two journeys for 
them, on the first, he succeeded in getting one of them, but had 
to make the second journey before he succeeded in getting the 
other. Margaret was transferred by the Shawnees to the Del- 
aware tribe. She was adopted by the Indian Chief Koothum- 
pum, and her sister Elizabeth in the family of Petasue, com- 
monly called "Snake." 

A few years before Margaret McKensey returned home, a 
young Indian chief made love to her and vehemently urged 
her to consent to marry him, which she peremptorily refused 
The young squaws frequently congratulated her on her fine 
offer. She at last became so annoyed by the solicitation of the 
young chief that she determined to escape to another village 
some seventy miles away, to which her foster sister and brother 
had removed. Early one morning she secured a very fine horse 
and mounted him and pushed off, making the distance that 

1775-1794 67 

day. She complained to her foster sister of the treatment she 
had received, who replied, "I will defend you with my life." 
The young chief, determined not to be defeated in this way, im- 
mediately pursued her and reached the village to which she 
had fled, the next day in the afternoon. He soon found her 
and told her if she did not immediately consent to become his 
wife, he would kill her, she refusing, he made a lunge at her 
with a long knife, but her sister threw herself between them 
and received a slight wound. The girl instantly seized the 
knife and wrenching it from his hand, broke the blade and 
threw it away. A furious fight ensued between the foster sis- 
ter and the Indian, the former telling Margaret to hide herself 
which she did. The young woman proved too much for the In- 
dian and gave him a sound whipping, thereupon he departed 
and was soon afterwards killed in Wayne's battle with the In- 

Shortly after the return of Margaret and Elizabeth, the for- 
mer married a Mr. Benjamine Hall, and the latter Mr. Jonas 
Clyburn. Mr. Clyburn with his family removed to Chicago 
about the time that that city was being first laid out. Mr. 
Hall and his wife lived to old age, dying in Mercer County and 
are buried near Princeton. They left numerous and highly 
respected descendants among them Mr. David Hall, a lawyer 
who long practiced his profession in Mercer and adjoining 
counties, Mr. Luther Lybrook Chambers, the present judge 
of the circuit court of Mercer, McDowell and Monroe counties 
and who ia the great grandson of the Margaret McKensey cap- 
tured by the Indians in 1778. Mr. L. A. Dunn an influential 
business man of Bluefield is also a great grandson of Margaret 

In 1778 Josiah Meadows, herein before referred to, who was 
the great great grandfather of Hon. R. G. Meadows of Mercer 
County, marched with the expedition of George Rogers Clark 
to the Illinois country, and then marched by way of the Falls 
of the Ohio to his home in Bedford County, Virginia. 

In October of the year of 1778 the Legislature of Virginia 

o8 New River Settlements 

created and erected into the conntj of Illinois all the north- 
west territory, being all the territory north of the Ohio, south 
of the Great Lakes, and east of the Mississippi. The county 
of Illinois continued as a Virginia County until the Deed of 
Cession of March, 1784. 

Joseph Hare, of North Carolina, and Edward Hale, of Frank- 
lin county, Virginia, came into the New River settlements in 
1779, and located about the mouth of Wolf Creek. Both Hare 
and Hale had been soldiers in the American army. Hare was 
with the patriot army at the battle of Moore's Creek Bridge, 
now near Fayetteville, North Carolina, fought on the 27th day 
of February, 177G. These two men performed important ser- 
vices in the years immediately following their settlement, not 
only in the battles with the Indians, but also in the battle of 
Whitsell's Mill and Guilford Court House, North Carolina, 
about which services more will be said hereafter. 

The upper New River valley, in what is now in part Bland, 
Wythe, Grayson and Carroll Counties in Virginia as well as 
some of the counties on the North Carolina side, were among 
the hiding places of the Tories, and they made frequent upris- 
ings and had to be repressed. Some of these uprisings took 
place in the years of 1779-80 and were suppressed by bodies of 
militia led by Colonel William Campbell, Major Walter Crock- 
ett, Major Joseph Cloyd and Colonel Benjamin Cleveland, the 
latter of North Carolina. The old court records now in the 
office of the Clerk of the County Court of Montgomery County, 
Virginia, abound with instances where numerous parties were 
summoned before the court on charges of being engaged in 
these uprisings, and were required to give bond and good se- 
curity to keep the peace and be of good behavior. Should any- 
one be curious enough to want the names of these people they 
can find the same by reference to records referred to. 

David Johnston with his family came from the county of 
Culpeper, Virginia, in 1778, and settled in the New River val- 
ley on the plateau between Big Stony Creek and Little Stony 
Creek, about one mile from the river, at the place now known 

1775-1794 69 

as the John Phlegar farm in the county of Giles. Johnston's 
family consisted of himself and wife, two sons, the third son 
being then absent in the American army, and five daughters, 
the eldest of the daughters, whose name was Sallie, and who 
had intermarried with Thomas Marshall, together with her 
husband, came with the family. David Johnston was the broth- 
er-in-law of John and Richard Chapman who then lived at the 
mouth of Walker's Creek, about two miles from where Johns- 
ton settled. The first house built by David Johnston as his new 
dwelling place, was erected by him in 1778 and is at this writ- 
ing, 1905, still standing, forming a part of the Phlegar mansion 
house. A few years after the coming of David Johnston his 
brother-in-law, Elder James Abbott, a missionary Baptist min- 
ister, came. Johnston was, soon after making of his settlement, 
appointed a constable for Montgomery county. He died in 
1786, his wife in 1813, and they were both buried on the Phle- 
gar farm. 

Thomas Ingles, a son of the Captain William Ingles, one of 
the Drapers Meadows settlers, and who was captured and car- 
ried away with his mother, bj' the Indians, in 1755, having re- 
turned after thirteen years, and been sent to school at Doctor 
Thomas Walker's in Albemarle County, Virginia, from which 
place he went with the army of General Lewis to the battle of 
Point Pleasant, in which he fought as a lieutenant in a com- 
pany belonging to Colonel William Christian's regiment of Fin- 
castle men. After the battle young Ingles was in one of the 
companies left to garrison the fort at Point Pleasant during 
the winter following the battle. After receiving his discharge 
from the army in 1775 he returned to Albemarle, and married a 
Miss Grills. He came back to the New River valley., and in 1778 
he located and settled in Wright's Valley, in which the city of 
Bluefield, W^est Virginia, is now situated, and about two miles 
west of said city, at a spring near the mansion house of the late 
Captain Rufus A. Hale. Here Mr. Ingles remained some two 
years, but finding himself dangerously near the Indian trail 
leading from he head of Tug of Sandy southward across East- 

70 New River Settlements 

river Mountain, to the Wolf Creek and Walker's Creek settle- 
ments, he determined to seek a place more remote from Indian 
lines of travel, and thence removed to Burke's Garden to a tract 
of land owned by his father. He however remained long enough 
in Wright's Valley to effect in a measure a change of name to 
"English's", as appears from the early land surveys and grants. 
His stay in his new home was not long a peaceful one, for in 
April, 1782, while he and a negro man were engaged at farm 
work some distance from the house, a large party of Indians 
captured his wife and children and two negro slaves, and after 
plundering and firing the house, they left the premises. Mr. 
Ingles, discovering the smoke from his burning house, ap- 
proached near enough to see that the trouble was caused by In- 
dians, and that he alone eould do nothing, set off in quest of 
help, crossing the mountains southward, he fortunately met up 
with a goodly number of men assembled for muster and drill at 
a settlement in Rich Valley on the north fork of Holstein. A 
posse of fifteen or twenty men under the leadership of Captain 
Maxwell, to whose command was added an additional force of 
five or six men, whom John Hix, a neighbor of Mr. Ingles, had 
gotten together. This party pursued the Indians and on the 
fifth day they were discovered in camp in a gap of the 
Sandy Ridge which divides the waters of the Sandy from 
the Clinch This gap since that time, known as Maxwell's 
Gap, is a short distance west of the west end of Abb's Valley, 
and two or three miles north-northwest of the residences of 
the late William G. Mustard on the north fork of Clinch River 
in the county of Tazewell. Captain Maxwell divided his com- 
pany, he taking a part, and moving around their flank so as to 
get in their front, while Mr. Ingles remained with the other por- 
tion of the company in the rear, and the attack to be made at 
daylight the next morning. Unfortunately Maxwell, in order 
to escape detection, bore too far away and was not in position 
to make the attack at the appointed time. Mr. Ingles after 
waiting beyond the agreed hour, and seeing the Indians begin- 
ning to stir, began the attack. As soon as the first shot was 

1775-1794 71 

fired, some of the Indians began to tomahawk the prisoners, 
while others fought and retreated. Mr. Ingles reached his wife 
just as she had received a terrible blow on the head. They had 
already tomahawked his little daughter Mary, five years old, 
and his son William, three years old. The small infant in the 
arms of the mother was unhurt. In their retreat, the Indians 
passed close to Captain Maxwell and his party, and firing on 
them killed Captain Maxwell, who was the only one of the pur- 
suers killed. No dead Indians were found. The little wounded 
girl died, but the mother recovered. The above statements are 
taken from the Harman MS., which states that Captain Henry 
Harman was with this pursuing party. 

On September 23, 1779, Mrs. Margaret Pauley and her hus- 
band, John Pauley, together with James Pauley, wife and child;, 
Robert Wallace and wife and Brice Miller set out from the 
Greenbrier section to go to Kentucky. They crossed New River 
at the Horse Ford near the mouth of Rich Creek and then down 
New River and up East River, which was the shortest route to 
Cumberland Gap. Each of the men had his rifle. The women 
on the horses, on which were packed what household plunder 
they could carry, were in front, the men in the rear driving the 
cattle. About noon of the day referred to, and when the party 
had reached a point on East River about one mile below the 
mouth of Five Mile Fork thereof, supposed to have been near the 
upper end of the old farm of Captain William Smith, they were 
attacked by five Indians and a white man by the name of Mor- 
gan, who was in company with the Indians. The first intima- 
tion that the party had of the presence of the savages, was the 
report of the discharge of a gun. The women, Mrs. John and 
James Pauley, were knocked from their horses by the Indians 
with their clubs, Wallace and the two children were killed and 
scalped, and John Pauley though fatally wounded, escaped and 
succeeded in reaching Wood's Fort on Rich Creek, where he 
died in a short time. The Indians took Mrs. John and James 
Pauley prisoners, and on leaving the scene of their atrocities, 
went up East River to the mouth of the Five Mile Fork, and 

72 New River Settlements 

thence up the same to the head, across the Bluestone and on to 
the Ohio, and to the Indian towns on the Miami. There the two 
women and the little boy of Margaret Pauley, born shortly 
after she reached the Indian towns remained prisoners for 
about two years. Finally Mrs. James Pauley escaped, and Mar- 
garet and her child shortly after this were ransomed. Mrs. 
Pauley's maiden name was Han^ley. . After the return of Mar- 
garet Pauley she married a ^^ll^.Efrskine, and by whom she 
had a daughter who married Hugh Caperton, who became a dis- 
tinguished man, and who was the father of the late United 
States Senator Allen T. Caperton, of Monroe County. Adam 
Caperton, the father of the said Hugh, was killed in a battle 
with the Indians at Little Mountain, or Estill's defeat, near 
where Mt. Sterling, Kentucky, is now situated. Captain Estill 
and six of his men were killed, and seventeen of the Indians 
were killed. This battle was fought on the 22nd day of March, 

At the date of the attack on the Pauley party in September, 

1779, no settlements had been made along the East River, in 
fact none existed between Wood's Fort on Rich Creek and that 
of Thomas Ingles in Wright's Valley. The route being traveled 
by the Pauley party was along the hunters' trail leading from 
New River up East River by the site of the present city of Blue- 
field in Mercer County, and across the Bluestone-Clinch divide 
to the Clinch, down the same and on by way of Powell's River 
to Cumberland Gap. This was the route usually pursued by 
emigrants from the Greenbrier-New River section to Kentucky. 

John Toney settled at the mouth of East River in the year of 

1780, and gave to his place the name of Montreal and later when 
the line of the Norfolk & W^estern Railroad was being con- 
structed, the contractors engaged in that part of the work at 
the mouth of East River, or their employees called it, ''Hell's 
Gate." It is now known as Glenlyn. 

In the year of 1780, or 1781 a family by the name of Chris- 
tain settled on the farm formerly owned by Mr. John L. Wool- 
wine on East River, about two miles above the mouth thereof, 

1775-1794 73 

and it was this family, or from it that the name ''Christian's 
Kidge," was given to the high ridge land lying north of the 
place of the settlement. 

John Goolman Davidson, an Irishman, born in Dublin, Ire- 
land, a cooper by trade, from which he was generally called and 
known as "Cooper Davidson," came with his family from that 
part of the Valley of Virginia now known as Rockbridge Coun- 
ty, and with him came Richard Bailey and his family, from the 
Blackwater section, then in Bedford, now in Franklin County, 
Virginia, and settled in the year of 1780 at the Beaver Pond 
Spring, a branch of Bluestone, now in Mercer County. A fort 
was built which was called and known as the "Davidson-Bailey 
Fort," the marks of the foundation of which may yet be seen 
near the residence of Mr. Harvey Bailey just west of the Beaver 
Pond Creek. Both Davidson and Bailey had considerable fam- 
ilies, the latter had eight sons and two daughters. Richard 
Bailey had been a soldier in the American army. These men 
as well as their sons and daughters, were a brave and coura- 
geous people, and maintained their position on the border at 
the settlement they had made from the day they came in 1780, 
until the close of the Indian wars in 1795. Often in battles 
with the Indians, frequently compelled to flee for their lives, 
and shut themselves up in their strong quarters, and finally 
loosing Mr. Davidson, whose tragic and brutal murder by the 
savages will be hereinafter related. At the time of the settle- 
ment at Beaver Pond Spring by Davidson and Bailey, their 
nearest neighbors, were Captain James Moore in Abb's Valley, 
some twelve miles away, Mitchell Clay on Clover bottom, about 
the same distance, a man by the name of Compton on Clear 
fork of Wolf Creek, about eight miles away, and a man by the 
name of Wright at a place now called Springville, on the head 
of the Bluestone about eight miles away. 

The American army under Washington, spent the winter of 
1779-80 at Morristown New Jersey, not only suffering from se- 
vere cold, but even from lack of food. The British General 
Clinton was determined to capture Charleston, South Carolina, 

74 New Kiver Settlements 

and to that end toward the close of the year 1779, he embarked 
from New York with 7,500 men, leaving Knyphausen in com- 
mand of the city with a small force, for Washington had sent 
the bulk of his troops south, and consequently gave the enemy 
little trouble in the northern department. The British expedi- 
tion reached Charleston near the close of January, 1780. Gen- 
eral Benjamin Lincoln was in command of the Continental 
troops at Charleston and in the vicinity thereof. On May 5th, 
1780, Fort Moultrie was surrendered to the British, and on the 
12th of May, General Lincoln surrendered the city of Charleston 
and his army numbering 5,000. to be made prisoners of war. 
This capitulation on the part of Lincoln left the entire south 
virtually at the mercy of the British. 

General Horatio Gates had been placed in command of the 
American army in the southern department and marched rap- 
idly southward until he reached Camden, South Carolina, 
where on the 16th of August he met the British army under 
Lords Rawdon and Cornwallis, and a fierce conflict ensued, in 
which the American army was decisively defeated. Immediate- 
ly following organized resistance in the south, American 
rule ended. General Gates made his way to Charlotte, North 
Carolina, where he was superseded by General Nathaniel 
Greene, one of the best oflicers and fighters in the American 
service. The march of the British army northward into North 
Carolina not only encouraged the loyalists in the southern part 
of the state but they became very much emboldened in the north- 
ern and western part of the state as well as in the upper New 
River region in Virginia. 

In the latter part of the summer or in the early part of the 
autumn of 1780 there was a general tory uprising in Surry 
County, North Carolina, which was so formidable in its char- 
acter as to alarm the friends of the American cause; who not 
only appealed to the American patriots in North Carolina, but 
in Virginia as well, for help. This was truly the crucial period 
in this great conflict, the American cause seeming to be at its 
lowest ebb. The western borders were harrassed by the In- 

1775-1794 75 

dians. The country north and east of New Jersey was prac- 
tically in the hands of the British. General Arnold had be- 
trayed the American cause and agreed to surrender West Point 
to the enemies of America. The great body of the American 
army had been decisively defeated at Camden, The tories, the 
friends of the King, were in high glee and everything looked as 
if the American cause was lost. But a brighter day was near 
at hand, and the tide of affairs was to turn in favor of the 

Colonel Martin Armstrong, who was in command of the mili- 
tary district in and around Salem, North Carolina, sent his 
small son, Thomas T. Armstrong, then but little above twelve 
years of age, with an appeal for help to Major Joseph Cloyd, 
whose residence was on Back Creek, now in Pulaski County. 
To avoid suspicion, and to prevent his son from being inter- 
cepted, knowing that he had to pass the tory settlements to 
reach Major Cloyd, he dressed him in a full tory suit, and the 
manly and brave little fellow carried the message safely to Ma- 
jor Cloyd (this incident was related to the author by Mrs. Col- 
onel Napoleon D. French, the grand-daughter of Colonel Mar- 
tin Armstrong, and the daughter of Colonel Thomas T. Arm- 
strong, the lad who carried the message.) 

Joseph Cloyd was the Major of the Montgomery County mi- 
litia of which William Preston was the Colonel and Command- 
ant. Cloyd was directed to raise three companies of horsemen 
forthwith and to proceed to Surry County, North Carolina, and 
to aid in suppressing the tories. 

Among the companies detailed for this service, was one com- 
manded by Captain George Pearis, another by Captain Bryant, 
but the author has been unable to ascertain the name of the 
captain who commanded the remaining company. General 
Jethro Sumner in a letter to General Gates, dated Camp Mc- 
Goon's Creek, October 4, 1780, says, ''That he encloses a copy 
of letter of Colonel William Preston, of Botetourt, Virginia, 
dated the 18th day of September, 1780, stating that a body of 
horsemen is in that section moving against the tories on the 

76 New River Settlements 

Yadkin," General Sumner seemed not to have been aware of 
the presence of the Virginia troops in that neighborhood, ex- 
cept through the letter of Colonel Preston, and a conversation 
had by him with Colonel Armstrong. In his letter General 
Sumner refers to the forks of the Yadkin, and to the Shallow 
ford thereof, and states that he suspects the latter point to be 
the object of the enemy. This letter also refers to a conversa- 
tion in which Colonel Armstrong informs him of the approach 
of three troops of horsemen from Virginia. General William 
Small wood, writes to General Gates, (Colonial records in Li- 
brary of Congress,) from Moravian town, now Salem, under 
date of October 16, 1780, and states, *'But upon return of my 
scouts last evening they informed me that the enemy had at- 
tempted to cross the Shallow ford the day before, 14th day of 
October, 1780, but they were attacked by Major Cloyd with one 
hundred and sixty of the Virginia and Carolina militia, and 
that fifteen of the tories were found dead and four wounded. (1) 
Our loss one captain killed, and four privates wounded. (Evi- 
dently the captain was Pearis, and he only wounded.) 

Captain Pearis received in this battle a very severe wound in 
the shoulder, which disabled him for further military duty. In 
this battle he killed with his own sword, a man by the name of 
Burke, his own cousin, from whom he took his sword and this 
with his own sword together with his uniform with the bullet 
hole in the shoulder thereof, were preserved in the family until 
the burning of Princeton, when the same were destroyed to- 
gether with the house of Mrs. Louisa A. Pearis, where they 
had been left for preservation. These men under Major Cloyd, 
were minute or emergency men, and were called out for only 
three months service, and returned to their homes about the 
first of January, 1781. Thomas Farley, who was a member of 
Captain Pearis' company, in his sworn application made before 
the County Court of Giles County in 1832, for a pension, states 
his enlistment was with Captain Pearis on the first of October, 

(1) The tory army numbered 310 and was commanded by Colonel 
Gideon and Captain Hezakiah Wright. — "Draper's Heroes of King's 
Mountain, page 483." 

1775-1794 77 

1780, and gives the details of the march under Major Cloyd to 
the Shallow ford of the Yadkin, and of the battle there, and 
that his captain, Pearls, was wounded in the battle and that 
he nursed him after he was wounded. 

Captain Henry Patton seems to have succeeded Pearis in 
command of the company which he led to the battle of the Shal- 
low ford of the Yadkin. 

General Cornwallis with the British was advancing into the 
very center of North Carolina, and he had pushed out Major 
Patrick Ferguson, one of his lieutenants, toward the western 
mountains of North Carolina, where he could rally and get to- 
gether the tories of that section. Ferguson had heard of the 
"Over-Mountain or Backwater men" who occupied the territory 
on the head waters of the Holstein, Clinch and the Watauga, 
and he determined to bring them to terms if possible. If they 
would not go to him and surrender, he would march across the 
mountain and destroy them. Ferguson then had in his cus 
tody a prisoner by the name of Samuel Philips with whom he 
agreed if he would carry a message from him to Generals Se- 
viers and Shelby, two of the leaders of the Over-Mountain men, 
he would release him. This message was, "that if they did not 
desist from their opposition to the British arms, that he would 
hang their leaders, and lay their county waste with fire and 
sword." Philips true to his word crossed the mountains, and 
delivered the message entrusted to him to Shelby at King's 
Meadows, now Bristol, Virginia. Shelby was not a man to be 
alarmed by such threats, conscious that the Over-mountain or 
Back-water men were an equal match for Ferguson's corps. 
Shelby mounted his horse, and rode rapidly some forty miles to 
the Nollichucky in search of John Sevier, who was not at home 
but at Jonesboro, attending the horse races. Shelby pushed on 
until he found him, and it is said that they went aside, and sat 
down upon a log and talked over the situation fully, and de- 
termined that the better plan was to rally the Over-mountain 
men both in Virginia and North Carolina, cross the mountains, 
and destroy Ferguson and his army. 

78 New River Settlements 

By agreement between Shelby and Sevier, the latter was to 
rally the men of Washington County, North Carolina, and the 
former those of Sullivan County, and who was also to com- 
municate and interest Colonel William Campbell, of Washing- 
ton County, Virginia. Sycamore Ford on the W^atauga, about 
three miles below the present town of Elizabeth town, was 
agreed upon as the place, and the 25th of September as the time 
for the rendezvous of these troops. Having succeeded in get- 
ting together one thousand men, they assembled as agreed upon 
at the time and place. 

This was the most remarkable gathering of Backwoodsmen 
that had ever occurred on the western border. Here was a body 
of men living as it were, beyond the confines of civilization, 
without law, being a law unto themselves, about to enter into 
a great campaign, and fight a great battle, not for revenge, 
plunder or booty, impelled only by their patriotism. No execu- 
tive authority had commanded them to assemble, they simply 
obeyed the commands of their local officers. They marched rap- 
idly across the mountains, passing through Gillespie's gap in 
Blue Ridge, and on to the waters flowing south and eastward ; 
and on the seventh day of October attacked the British forces 
under Ferguson at King's Mountain, in South Carolina, and 
won in less than an hour, a most decisive victory, which gave 
cheer and encouragement to the American cause, and made pa- 
triotic hearts throughout the land leap for joy. This was the 
turning point in the American revolution. These incidents are 
embodied herein because a part of the men who fought this bat- 
tle on the American side were Montgomery County men, from 
the headwaters of the Bluestone and the Clinch. Montgomery 
County at that time reached westward to the west end of Mor- 
ris' Knob, some eight miles beyond the present Court House of 
Tazewell County. 

Captain James Moore, from Abb's Valley, the Peery's and 
others from the upper waters of the Clinch, went with Lieuten- 
ant Reece Bowen's company, which belonged to CampbelFs 
Washington County regiment. Moore was a lieutenant in Bow- 

1775-1794 79 

en's company, and when entering into the battle, hearing the 
British bugle sound charge, directed his men to dismount and 
give it to them Indian fashion — that is, take trees. 

The Americans in this battle captured more than six hun- 
dred prisoners, and brought them across the mountains. Gen- 
eral Gates, on October 17, 1780, wrote Colonel William Preston 
to prepare a stockade at Fort Chiswell in which to confine 
these prisoners, but Colonel Preston replied, "that it was not a 
safe place; that Montgomery County contained more tories 
than any other county in Virginia." A full, complete and con- 
nected history of the battle of King's Mountain, will be found 
in Draper's "Heroes of King's Mountain." 

On the 17th day of January, 1781, was fought the battle of 
the Cowpens, in which General Morgan defeated the British un- 
der Tarleton, the latter being utterly routed and pursued for 
twenty miles. The American loss was but seventy -two killed 
and wounded, while that of the British was more than three 
hundred, with five hundred prisoners, and an immense amount 
of supplies. This victory was a crushing one, and caused con- 
siderable consternation in the camp of Cornwallis, when the 
news reached him. Morgan crossed the Broad River with his 
prisoners, intending to make his way to Virginia; Cornwallis 
in the meantime started out in pursuit. He was confident of 
heading off the patriot army at the fords of the Catawba, but 
reached there two hours after Morgan had crossed. It was late 
in the afternoon when he reached the river, and he waited until 
morning to find that the fox had gone. A heavy rain had fallen? 
and so raised the stream as to prevent the British commander 
from crossing for several hours, during which Morgan marched 
rapidly, reached and crossed the Yadkin, where General Greene 
joined him, and left his troops at Cheraw under the command of 
General Huger. Greene having learned from Morgan that Corn- 
wallis was in pursuit, he sent orders to Huger to unite with 
Morgan at Salisbury or Charlotte. General Greene was mak- 
ing for Virginia, and Cornwallis chased him for two hundred 
miles. The pursuer had been held several hours at the Ca- 

80 New River Settlements 

tawba, but crossing at last he renewed the chase after Morgan, 
and reached the bank of the Yadkin February 3rd, as the Amer- 
cans on the opposite side were forming in line to continue the 
march. The Yadkin was rising rapidly, but the impatient Corn- 
wallis had to linger until the next day while the Amer- 
cans leisurely marched off unmolested. They were joined at 
Guilford Court House by the troops from the Pedee, but being 
far inferior to their pursuers in number, they continued their 
retreat to the Dan, which was already rising, and on the 13th 
of February they crossed and entered Halifax County, Vir- 
ginia. When Cornwallis came again in view, he found himself 
again stopped by high water. This turn of affairs disgusted 
him, and he wheeled about and marched back to Hillsboro, 
where he made his headquarters. General Greene rested and 
recruited his army, which now aggregated about five thousand 
men, and he determined to join battle with Cornwallis. 

Before proceeding to relate the movements of the military in 
the New River Valley, the names of some of the settlers who 
came into the valley in 1780 will be mentioned. William Wil- 
burn and David Hughes from North Carolina, and John and 
Benjamin White from Amherst County, Virginia, settled on 
Sugar Run in 1780, and a little later, probably in the autumn 
of 1781, came William Tracy Sarver, James Rowe and others 
from North Carolina, who settled in Wolf Creek valley. 
These men had gone from Culpeper County to the Hawe 
Patch in North Carolina, where it apears they joined them- 
selves unto the King's men, and in Pyles' defeat on the Haw, on 
the 25th of February, 1781, James Rowe received from one of 
Lee's Legion a sabre wound which made him lame the rest of 
his days. The David Hughes referred to was also a Loyalist, 
and to escape military service in the American army hid him- 
self in the wilds of the flatwoods about the head of Pipestem 
Creek, and on the waters of the Bluestone and Guyandotte. A 
high knob situated about seven miles northeast of Athens in 
Mercer County, is still called "Dave's Knob," from this man 
David Hughes, who had a hiding place on the top thereof. 

1775-1794 81 

Hughes was a giant in size and strength and on one of his ex- 
peditions he caught a cub bear which by its outcries, brought 
its mother which fiercely attacked Hughes, seizing him by the 
left arm. He succeeded in dispatching the bear by striking it 
with his fist in the ribs. It may here be added that the New 
River valley received a large number of inhabitants in the years 
of 1775-1782 from North Carolina, a large part of whom were 
tories, but from whom have descended a large number of highly 
honored and respectable people. 

Cornwallis' march into upper Carolina had greatly alarmed 
the Virginians and General Greene wrote letters to Governor 
Jefferson and to the various commanders of detached bodies of 
troops in Virginia asking help, and among those to whom he 
addressed his urgent appeals were Preston, Sevier, Shelby and 
Campbell. Colonel William Preston on February 10, 1781, or- 
dered the militia of Montgomery County to assemble at the 
Lead Mines, and on the day appointed three hundred and fifty 
men assembled pursuant to the order of their commander. Ma- 
jor Joseph Cloyd, assembled and led the Middle New River 
men. It is to be regretted that the names of the men who went 
with Preston and Cloyd have not been preserved. One com- 
pany went from the Middle New River valley, which was com- 
manded by Captain Thomas Shannon, of Walker's Creek, and 
one of his lieutenants was Alexander Marrs. A few names only 
of the privates who went along have been secured. They were 
Matthew French, John French, Edward Hale, Joseph Hare, 
Isaac Cole and Thomas Farley. 

Preston began his march on the 18th day of February and 
reported to General Greene on the 28th day of that month, who 
assigned him to the command of General Andrew Pickens. On 
his way to report to Pickens he seems to have gotten between 
the American and British outposts, and camped for the night 
in close proximity to the British without knowing that they 
were near him. 

On the second day of March, 1781, Lee's Legion and Pres- 
ton's men had a spirited encounter with Tarleton, which Gen- 

82 New Rivee Settlbmhnts 

eral Greene in a dispatch to General Washington thus notices : 
"On the Second, Lieutenant Colonel Lee with a detachment of 
riflemen attacked the advance of the British army under Tarle- 
ton and killed and wounded thirty of them." 

On the sixth of March at Whitsell's (Wetzell'smill) , North 
Carolina, Williams' men, Pickens and his command, including 
Lee's Legion and Preston's Backwoodsmen, met the British 
and a severe engagement took place. The Americans were com- 
pelled to retreat, and Preston's horse took fright and ran 
through a mill pond near the British, threw Preston off and 
escaped into the British lines. Colonel Preston, being quite a 
fleshy man, found it diflScult to keep up with the retreating 
army, and Major Cloyd seeing his condition dismounted and 
gave Preston his horse. On the eve of going into this battle John 
French, son of Matthew, and a member of Captain Shannon's 
company, was detailed as one of the guards to the wagon train. 
So soon as the firing began at the creek French left the train 
without orders — in fact against orders — and went to the fight, 
joined therein and shot one of the enemy. The ofBcer in charge 
of the wagon train reported him for disobedience of orders, and 
demanded that he be court martialed. Major Cloyd remarked 
that as French ran not from the fight, but towards it, if they 
court martialed him for such a cause, he would never again 
draw his sword in behalf of the country. 

The Americans continued their retreat to Guilford Court 
House, where the main body of Greene's army had assembled 
to fight Cornwallis. In the meantime. Colonel William Camp- 
bell with about sixty men had joined General Greene, and Pres- 
ton's Montgomery men were placed under his, Campbell's, com- 
mand on the extreme left of Greene's army. Colonel Tarleton 
says, in his Southern Campaigns pp 241, "That in the battle of 
Guilford Court House he held the right of the British army 
and that his troops were badly hurt by the Backwoodsmen from 
Virginia, that they stood behind a fence until the British In- 
fantry with their bayonets climbed over the same." The Ameri- 
cans were defeated in this battle, and there were some critic- 

1775-1794 83 

ivsms as to the behavior of these Backwoodsmen or militia, and 
Colonel Preston in a letter to Governor Jefferson, written on 
the 10th of April, 1781, complaining of this criticism, and the 
injustice to his men, says, "that part of the men were in one 
action and all of the men were in two actions." Judge Schenk, 
in his "North Carolina 1780-81," credits Colonel Martin Arm- 
strong with leading a body of Surry County men in the battle 
of Guilford Court House. 

After the close of this battle the militia returned to their 
homes, which were then threatened by Indian incursions, their 
services being badly needed along the frontier to suppress the 
Indian forays and outrages. 

To the battle of Yorktown, fought in October, 1781, went 
Trigg's Battalion of artillery composed largely of New Eiver 
Valley men. 

The outrages commited by the Indians upon the family of 
Thomas Ingles in Burke's Garden in April, 1782, greatly 
alarmed the settlers along the more exposed portions of the 
border, and they pleaded for protection. The consternation 
produced along the frontiers from Powell's Valley to New 
River was so great that the Governor of Virginia directed Col- 
onel William Preston to assemble the field officers of Mont- 
gomery and Washington Counties at Lead Mines at once to de- 
vise ways and means to protect the settlers from Indian depre- 
dations. The meeting of these officers took place on the 6th day 
of July, 1782. In the meantime Colonel Preston had ordered 
Major Joseph Cloyd to call out the militia, and to station them 
at David Doak's Mill. The field officers present at the July 
meeting from Montgomery County were William Preston, 
Daniel Trigg, Walter Crockett, John Taylor, Joseph Cloyd and 
Abraham Trigg; from Washington County, Arthur Campbell, 
Aaron Lewis, William Edmiston, James Dysart and Major 
Patrick Lockhart, District Commissioner. The board of offi- 
cers decided that two hundred men should be drawn out for 
the defense of the frontiers, to be disposed of into the following 
districts in Montgomery County, namely, "on New River in the 

84 New River Settlements 

neighborhood of Captain Pearis 30 men, Sugar Run 20, Cap- 
tain Moore's head of Bluestone 25, head of Clinch 25. In 
Washington, at Richlands 20, Castle woods 30, Rye Cove 20, 
Powell's Valley 30 men. The distances from Captain Pearis' to 
Sugar Run 10 miles, to Captain Moore's, head of Bluestone 30, 
to Captain Maxwell's, head of Clinch 16, which is nearest the 
Washington line, to Richlands 24, to Castlewood's 30, to Rye 
Cove 28, to Powell's Valley Fort 26 miles, in all 164 miles." 

Upon the surrender of Lord Cornwallis at Yorktown, in Oc- 
tober, 1781, the war was regarded at an end. Many of the mili- 
tia men of Virginia and swarms of other people soon thereafter, 
came over the Alleghanies, seeking homes, and with them for 
the same purpose, came some of the French- and British sol 
diers. Vast throngs went to Kentucky. Among those who 
came in the years of 1782-3-4 and 5, and located in the New 
River Valley, and who had been soldiers in the American army, 
were John Peters, Christian Peters, Charles Walker, Isaac 
Smith and Larkin Stowers, and a little later came Josiah 
Meadows, Jacob Meadows, James Emmons, Charles Duncan, 
John Kirk, Peter Dingess and Tollison Shuemate. The Peters, 
Stowers, Walker, Jacob Meadows and Smith came from Rock- 
ingham County, Virginia, Peter Dingess, from Botetourt Coun- 
ty, Josiah Meadows from Bedford, James Emmons and Charles 
Duncan from Stokes County, North Carolina, John and Thos. 
Kirk, and Tollison Shuemate from Fauquier County, Virginia. 
Duncan and Emmons had first removed from Fauquier County 
to Stokes County, North Carolina. John Peters and his brother 
Christian came in 1783, the former located on the New River 
on the farm on which Mr. Charles D. French now resides, and 
the latter settled on Rich Creek, where the village of Peters- 
town is now situated, and he gave name to that village. Chas 
Walker settled on New River, opposite the mouth of Wolf 

Conner, Link and Lugar, who were Hessians — Germans — and 
who had belonged to the British army, came during one of the 
years referred to. John Conner was a courier or dispatch 

1775-1794 85 

bearer for Colonel Tarleton, the British commander on the bat- 
tlefield of the Cowpens, and had been sent with a message, be- 
came intoxicated on the way, failed to deliver the message, was 
court martialed and sentenced to receive, and did receive one 
hundred lashes, save one, on his bare back, lived, but fainted 
under the operation, though he had been heavily dosed with 
liquor and powder mixed. This whipping caused him to let the 
hated British do their own fighting thereafter, and thereupon 
he deserted to the Americans. 

Three or four Hessian regiments were surrendered as pris- 
oners of war by Cornwallis at Yorktown, and for safe keeping 
were sent into the valley of Virginia. Finding there a people 
who had come from their own country, spoke their own tongue 
and living in a goodly land, they settled down and became citi- 
zens of the country. 

The influx of population of the New River Valley, came prin- 
cipally from four directions, viz : the Virginia valley, Piedmont, 
Virginia, the upper waters of the James and Roanoke Rivers or 
their tributaries, and from North Carolina. From the valley 
came the Peters, Walkers, Stowers, Smiths; from the Pied- 
mont, Virginia, the Chapmans, Johnstons, McKensey, Lyttles, 
Garrisons, Kirks, Emmons, Duncans and Shuemates; from the 
waters of the James and Roanoke Rivers, the Clays, Baileys, 
Belchers, Shannons and Whites; from North Carolina, the 
Harmans, Wilburns, Hughes and Hagers. 

It has already been stated that Captain George Pearls set- 
tled on the New River, where Pearisburg station on the line of 
the Norfolk & Western Railway is now situated, in the Spring 
ofl782, (l)He purchased a tract of land (204 acres) of Cap- 
tain William Ingles for sevelnty pounds sterling. It is altogeth- 
er probable that Mrs. Ingels had observed these lands on her 
way up New River in November, 1755, after her escape from the 
Indians, and had given information thereof to her husband, who 
in 1780 entered and surveyed this 204 acre tract, as well, also, 

(1) George Pearis opened the first store in what is now Giles 

86 New River Settlements 

the Chapman I. Johnston home tract, and the tract on which 
Chas. D. French resides. 

It has been noted that Mitchell Clay and family settled on 
the Bluestone at Clover bottom in the year of 1775, where he 
opened up a considerable farm. From the date of his settle- 
ment to near the autumn of 1783 he had not been molested by 
the savages, as he seems to have lived off their lines of travel, 
but his peace was not long to continue. 

In the month of August, 1783, after Clay had harvested his 
crop of small grain, and desiring to get the benefit of the pas- 
tures for his cattle off the ground on which his crop had grown, 
he placed two of his sons, Bartley and Ezekiel, to build a fence 
around the stacks of grain, while he went out in the search of 
game. His older sons seem to have been away from home. It 
was in the afternoon, while these two young men were engaged 
at their work, and the older daughter with some of the younger 
girls were at the river washing, that a marauding party of 
eleven Indians crept up to the edge of the field and shot Bart- 
ley dead. The discharge of the gun alarmed the girls at the 
river, and they started on a run for the house, the pathway 
leading directly by where Bartley had been killed. An Indian 
attempted to scalp the young man, and at the same time to cap- 
ture the older girl Tabitha, who undertook to defend the body 
of her dead brother, and prevent his being scalped, and in the 
struggle with the Indian, she reached for his butcher knife, 
which hung in his belt and missing it, the Indian drew it and 
stabbed her repeatedly, she however, several times wringing the 
knife from his hand cast it aside, but he each time recovering it 
continued cutting her with the knife, and stabbing her until he 
had literally chopped her to pieces before killing her. The 
small girls during the melee, had escaped to the house, and the 
brother Ezekiel, a lad of some sixteen years had been captured 
by another Indian. The house of Mitchell Clay stood on a high 
point, or knoll about three hundred yards nearly due west, 
from the dwelling house now owned and occupied by Mr. Daniel 
Day. The old chimney, or rather the foundation stones of the 

1775-1794 87 

chimney of the Clay cabin can still be seen. About the time the 
attack was made by the Indian, a man by the name of Liggon 
Blankenship called at Clay's cabin, and when Mrs. Clay discov- 
ered her daughter in the struggle with the Indian, begged 
Blankenship to go and shoot the Indian and save her child, in- 
stead thereof he took to his heels and ran to the New River set- 
tlements and reported that Clay and all of his family had been 
killed by the Indians. This cowardly behavior of Blankenship 
has been handed down from generation to generation and per- 
haps will be to the end of time. The Indians, after securing 
the scalp of the young man Bartley, and his sister Tabitha, with 
their prisoner Ezekiel, left the scene. So soon as Mrs. Clay as- 
certained that the Indians had departed, she took her children 
and carried the bodies of the dead ones to the house and plac- 
ing them on a bed, left the cabin with her children and made 
her way through the wild woods six miles to the house of Mr. 
James Bailey (son of Richard, of Beaver Pond) who lived at a 
place on Brush Creek waters about three fourths of a mile 
northwest from where New Hope Church now stands, and who 
had settled there in 1782, and was then Clay's nearest neighbor. 
Mr. Clay, the father, on his hunting expedition had wounded a 
deer and followed it until nearly dark, then retraced his steps 
home, littl e dreaming of the horrors that had been enacted 
there in his absence. When he reached the house he soon dis- 
covered from the dead bodies of his children and other evi- 
dence what had happened, and supposing that all of his family 
had been killed or were captives, he immediately left the cabin 
for the New River settlements, following a blind path which 
led from his place to New River at the mouth of East River. On 
his way during the night he discovered that the Indians were 
in his rear, following him, and he left the path in order to evade 
them. He reached the settlements early in the morning, fol- 
lowed closely by the Indians who stole a number of horses and 
immediately began their retreat to the Ohio. Information was 
immediately conveyed to the various neighborhoods, and a 
party of men under Captain Matthew Farley, among them 

88 New River Settlements 

Charles Clay, Mitchell, Jr., James Bailey, William Wiley, Ed- 
ward Hale, Isaac Cole, Joseph Hare, John French and Captain 
James Moore, went to the Clay cabin and buried the bodies of 
Bartley and Tabitha. The pursuit then began. The Indians 
taking the old Indian trail from the Bluestone across Flat Top 
Mountain, and down the divide between Guyandotte and Coal 
river waters along the top of Cherry Pound Mountain, where 
the trail seperated, one branch thereof continuing down the 
west fork of the Coal River, and the other down the Pond fork 
of the same. When the whites reached the forks of this path 
or trail, they discovered that the tracks of the horses, which the 
Indians had stolen, led down the Pond fork, and not suspect- 
ing that some of the Indian party had gone down the west fork, 
they followed the tracks of the horses. It was late in the eve- 
ning when they reached a point near the mouth of Pond fork, 
and discovered smoke from fires started by the Indians where 
they had camped, and heard the shrill whistle of a fife. The 
party halted in order to confer as to the best method of attack. 
They decided to divide their party so as to place a portion of 
them below the Indians, and to attack at daylight the next 
morning, and to make this attack from above and below at the 
same time. The party crept as close up to where the Indians 
encamped as they thought safe to prevent discovery. All was 
quiet during the night, but just at the break of day, a large In- 
dian arose from his bed and walked out a short distance, and 
approaching Edward Hale, by whom he was shot and killed, 
and thereupon the attack began. 

Two of the Indians were killed outright, and one that was 
wounded attempted to escape to the hill, and in his broken 
English begged for his life, but Charles Clay, whose brother 
and sister had just been killed by them, and another brother in 
captivity, refused him quarter and killed him on the spot. The 
remaining Indians fled down the river. 

Mitchell Clay, Jr., was then quite a boy, and when the attack 
began one large Indian rushed down toward him. Young Clay 
had a large rifle gun, much too heavy for a boy of his size to 

1775-1794 89 

handle, and firing at the Indian he missed him. The Indian 
wheeled, and attempted to run off, but was killed by another of 
the party. 

The place where this fight occurred is in the now county of 
Boone, at the head of a little bottom on the Pond fork, on west 
side thereof, about one-half mile above the junction of the Pond 
with the West fork of Coal Kiver, and on the farm formerly 
owned by the late Mr. L. D. Coon, who a few years ago in plow- 
ing near the base of the hill where the fight took place, found an 
Indian hatchet, which he gave to the author, and which he now 
has in his possession. The spot where this battle wag fought is 
well marked by a large pile of heavy stones, carried by the Indi- 
ans from the adjacent mountain side, and piled over the bodies 
of their dead comrades. The white people recovered their horses, 
but not Ezekiel Clay, who was carried by the hunting party of 
Indians that went down the West Fork, and with this party the 
whites failed to come into contact. They took this unfortunate 
boy to their town at Chillicothe, and burned him at the stake. 
Both Edward Hale and William Wiley took from the backs of 
the two dead Indians strips of their hides, which they convert- 
ed into razor straps and which remained in their families for 
many years, as souvenirs of the battle. 

Mitchell Clay and his family removed to New River, and pur- 
chased from the executors of Captain William Ingles a part of 
the farm which is now owned by J. Raleigh Johnston, Esq., 
across the river from the Norfolk & Western Railway station 
at Pearisburg, Virginia, and Clay built his house on very 
nearly the same spot on which Mr. Johnston's house now 
stands. This Clay house was removed several years ago to a 
point on the same farm, about one-half mile north of where it 
originally stood. It still remains, and in the logs may yet be 
seen the port holes. A photograph of this house built in 1783, 
as it now appears will be inserted in the appendix to this work. 

Mr. Clay and his wife, whose maiden name was Phoebe Bel- 
cher of Bedford, later Franklin County, Virginia, had fourteen 
children. His sons were Henry, Charles, Mitchell, David, Wil- 

90 New Kivee Settlements 

liam, Bartley, and Ezekiel; his daughters Tabitha, Rebecca, 
who married Colonel George Pearis, Patience, who married 
George Chapman, Sallie, who married Captain John Peters, 
Obedience, who married John French, Nannie, who married 
Joseph Hare, Mary, who married William Stewart, and whose 
descendants, now compose a large part of the population of 
Wyoming County, West Virginia. Mitchell Clay died on his 
New River farm in 1812, having sold his Clover bottom tract to 
Hugh Innes and to his son-in-law. Colonel Pearls. The facts 
and circumstances connected with this Clay tragedy and the 
battle fought with the Indians on Coal River is taken from the 
Clay MSS., written out by Mitchell C. and John Clay, grand- 
sons of the said Mitchell. 

In 1783 Captain George Pearls being out on his farm with 
his rifle and near the lower point of the island just north of 
his house discovered an Indian standing on the high cliff of 
rocks opposite the lower point of said island. He fired at and 
killed the Indian. 

In the spring of 1782, a marauding party of Indians made 
an incursion into Abb's Valley, and attacked the house of James 
Poague, a brother-in-law of Captain Moore, at night, broke open 
the door, but finding there were several men in the house (there 
were three besides Mr. Poague) they did not attempt to enter 
the house, but after watching it for some time went off; and 
the next morning killed a young man by the name of Richards, 
who had been living for some time at Captain Moore's. This in- 
cident is related by Kercheval, the Historian of the valley. It 
seems that this party of Indians on entering the valley divided, 
a part going to Burke's Garden and attacking Thomas Ingles' 
family as hereinbefore related, and another part the Maxwell's 
and others. 

James Moore, a son of Captain James, and who was only 
fourteen years of age, was in September, 1784, captured by three 
Indians. The boy had been sent for a horse, by his father, to 
the plantation of Mr. Poague, which was now deserted, as Mr. 
Poague had left some time before. The boy was taken by the 

1775-1794 91 

Indians across the Ohio, and remained a prisoner for about 
five years, then returned, finding, in fact hearing before he 
reached home, that his father's family had been destroyed by 
the Indians. This James Moore was the father of the late Wil- 
liam T. Moore, of Abb's Valley, and who lived to about the age 
of ninety years, one of the most honored and respected citizens 
of Tazewell County, Virginia. Before his death he erected, 
largely at his own expense in Abb's Valley, near the place 
where his grandfather and family were destroyed by the In- 
dians, Moore's Memorial (Methodist) Church. 

Many important events transpired during the years of 1784-5. 
The border land or frontier was rapidly filling up with a rest- 
less, energetic people, largely free from governmental re- 
straints, with no other special duties to perform than that of 
preparing homes, providing food and clothing and fighting sav- 
ages. These people west of the Alleghanies, on the waters of 
Wautauga, Holstein and upper New River section, seemingly 
dissatisfied with the state governments of North Carolina and 
Virginia, sought what they conceived to be better. The people 
living in Washington, Sullivan and Greene Counties, North 
Carolina, set up a new government, created and organized a new 
state which they named Franklin. The interests of the people 
living in these counties, as well as on the head waters of the 
Holstein and upper New River country, were so closely identi- 
fied, that a scheme was discussed to enlarge the territory of the 
new state, and to make a great independent Commonwealth. 
Colonel Arthur Campbell, of Washington County, Virginia, 
seems to have been at the head of the movement, and in 1785 
he proposed the enlargement of the boundaries of the new state 
as. follows, viz: ^'Beginning at a point at the top of the Alle- 
ghany or Appalachian Mountains so as a line drawn due north 
from thence will reach the banks of the New River, then called 
Kanawha, at the confluence of the little river, which is about 
one mile above Ingle's Ferry, down the said river Kanawha to 
the mouth of Roncevert ( or Greenbrier ) River, a direct line 
from thence to the nearest summit of the Laurel Mountain, and 

New River Settlements 

long the highest point of the same to the point where it is in- 
jrsected by the parallel of thirty seven degrees north latitude ; 
^est along that latitude to a point where it is met by a meridian 
ne that passes through the lower part of the Rapids of Ohio ; 
3uth along the meridian to Elk Run, a branch of the Tennessee, 
own said run to its mouth, and down the Tennessee to the 
lost southwardly part of the bend in said river ; a line from 
tience to that branch of the Mobile, called Donbigbee ; down 
aid river Donbigbee to its junction with the Cossawate River, 
3 the mouth of that branch called the High tower, thence south 
3 the top of the Appalachian Mountain at its highest land 
tiat divides the stream of the eastern from the western waters ; 
orthwardly along the middle of said heights, and the top of 
tie Appalachian Mountains to the beginning." 

This new state composed of the three counties mentioned, 
Lved and lasted with John Sevier as its governor four years, 
nd then ceased to further exist ; its territory having been final- 
Y absorbed or embraced within the limits of the state of Tenn- 
ssee. This brief mention of the state of Franklin is only made 
show that if it had continued its existence with the enlarg- 
d territory added as proposed by Colonel Campbell, the coun- 
ies of Mercer and Tazewell would have been embraced therein. 

A raiding party of Indians in 1785 entered the Upper Blue- 
tone and Wolf Creek sections, stole horses and gave great 
,larm to the settlers. 

The general assembly of Virginia in October, 1785, passed an 
ict to take effect May first, 1786, dividing the county of Wash- 
ngton by the creation of the county of Russell ; which Act 
•eads as follows : ''All that part of said county lying within a 
ine to be run along the Clinch Mountain to the Carolina line, 
hence with a line to the Cumberland Mountain, and the extent 
>f the county between the Cumberland Mountain, Clinch Moun- 
ain and the line of Montgomery County, shall be one distinct 
:ounty, called and known by the name of Russell. Court to 
neet at the house of William Robinson in Castlewoods." 

In the early morning of July 14, 1786, a band of forty Shaw- 

1775-1794 93 

nee Indians attacked the family of Captain James Moore in 
Abb's Valley, killed Captain Moore, two of his children, a man 
by the name of Simpson, captured Mrs. Moore, and her four re- 
maining children, and a Miss Evans who was living with the 
family, plundered, and burned the house, and then made off to 
the Ohio with their prisoners and booty. Two men in the har- 
vest field just south of the house, one by the name of Clark, the 
other an Irishman, fled and gave the alarm. Clark ran directly 
to the Davidson-Bailey Fort at the Beaver Pond spring, the 
Irishman to a settlement on upper Bluestone. A messenger 
was forthwith dispatched to Major Joseph Cloyd, on Back 
Creek, who with a party of men reached the scene of the trag- 
edy the second day after its enactment, but too late to overtake 
the Indians. They secured the bodies of the dead and buried 
them. They found the body of Captain Moore about two hun- 
dred yards north of the house. His body had been horribly mu- 
tilated by the savages. It was buried where he fell and it still 
reposes there. The spot where the two small children were bur- 
ied, remained unknown to tlie Moores until about fifteen years 
ago Mr. Oscar B. Moore, the great grandson of Captain James, 
while plowing or having plowing done in a field near where the 
cabin had stood, turned up tlie bones of these children and not 
far away under the edge of a shelving limestone rock the bones 
of a man of very large frame was plowed up, supposed to be 
those of the Indian that the horse Yorick killed. The story of 
the destruction of Captain Moore and his family, has been giv- 
en by several writers, and it is not deemed necessary to repeat 
it here in full. The reader for further information is referred 
to ''Abb's Valley Captives :" Kercheval's His. Val. : Trans Alle- 
ghany Pioneers : Summers His. South-west Virginia. 

The Federal Convention, which assembled at Philadelphia 
on the 17th day of September completed its work, and submit- 
ted the same to the states for their action. The Virginia con- 
vention convened to consider the ratification or rejection of 
this Federal constitution, assembled in the city of Richmond 
on the 2nd day of June, 1788. The representatives from the 

94 New River Settlements 

county of Montgomery, of which the territory of Mercer was 
then a part, were Walter Crockett and Abraham Trigg. Wash- 
ington County was represented by Samuel Edmiston and 
James Montgomery, The opposition to the ratification of the 
constitution was vigorous, being led by Patrick Henry, while 
James Madison and Governor Randolph earnestly supported 
ratification. It was ratified with sundry amendments, recom- 
mendations and conditions added, by a vote of 89 to 79, the rep- 
resentatives from west of the Alleghanies voting against rati- 
fication. And thus with perhaps two exceptions, the people liv- 
ing west of the Alleghanies have almost invariably opposed and 
voted against every constitution presented to them, and the 
last heard from they were still voting along the same lines. It 
is true they voted for the ratification of the Underwood consti- 
tution of 18G9 but this was a matter of self-preservation, to 
avoid political disabilities, disfranchisement, and negro domin- 
ation, all of which had practically been incorporated into the 
constitution, but several of the obnoxious features thereof were 
by authority of President Grant voted on separately and de- 
feated. But the stronger reason that impelled them to vote for 
this constitution, was tlie fear of carpetbag and scalawagism, 
as well as negro domination. 

Captain Henry Harman, who was a German, but born on the 
Isle of Man, first settled in North Carolina near the Moravian 
town, Salem, and there married Miss Nancy Wilburn, and from 
thence removed about the year of 1758 to the New River valley, 
and settled on Buchanan's bottom, the Major James R. Kent 
farm. Some years later Captain Harman settled on Walker's 
Creek, but soon removed to the north branch thereof, known 
now as Kimberling Creek (the name believed to have been giv- 
en from Jacob Kimberline). This farm on which he settled on 
the Kimberling, and now known as Hollybrook, remained in his 
family for long years. The last Harman that owned and occu- 
pied it was Colonel William N. Harman, a grandson of Captain 
Henry, a lawyer by profession, and who commanded a battalion 
of confederate calvery during our civil war. Colonel Harman 

1775-1794 95 

with his family recently removed to the territory of Oklahoma, 
Captain Henry Harman very early in the morning of Novem- 
ber 12th, 1788, started out on his usual fall hunt, taking with 
him two of his sons, George and Matthias, and a man by the 
name of George Draper. They had with them their bear dogs 
and pack horses, with the latter to transport their game. 
Starting early and traveling the mountain trails by the short- 
est route, they reached a point on the Tug Fork of the Sandy be- 
low the junction of the North and South forks thereof a little 
more than two miles below said junction on the right bank of 
the main Tug fork, where they selected their camp, the con- 
struction of which was left to the Captain, who desired it ar- 
ranged to suit his taste. George and Matthias had started to 
the woods to look for game, while Mr. Draper was looking af- 
ter the horses. A short distance from the stopping place 
George Harman found a camp in which fire was still burning 
and a pair of leggins, which Captain Harman decided from the 
odor had been with the Indians, and had formerly belonged to 
Captain James Moore, who had been killed and his house plun- 
dered by the Indians a little more than two years before. Cap- 
tain Harman satisfied that he was in near proximity to the In- 
dians, and night rapidly approaching, decided to retrace his 
steps, knowing if he remained he would be attacked, and to get 
out was safer, and would also enable him to give notice to the 
settlers ; he thereupon called in Matthias, caught up the horses 
and moved out ; he and Mr. Draper in front, the horses next, 
and George and Matthias to bring up the rear. They had pro 
ceeded but short distance, when they were fired upon by the In- 
dians, some six or seven in number. Draper letired at the tire 
of the first gun, and hid himself in the branches of a fallen 
tree, a little to the rorir of the seen 3 of conflict, so that the Har- 
mans were left alone to contend with at least, if not more than 
double their own number. The fight was close and bloody, 
Captain Harman receiving one severe, and other slight wounds 
from arrows. George had a hand to hand conflict with one of 
the savages, whom with the help of Matthias, he succeeded in 

96 New River Settlembntb 

dispatching. Two of the Indians being killed, and two wound- 
ed, those still unhurt with the wounded ones, beat a retreat, and 
the Harmans pursued their way safely homeward. Drajier 
from his hiding place had observed the retreat of the Indians, 
crept out, hurried into the settlement, and reported the Har- 
mans killed. This brief account of the affair taken from a copy 
of the ''Harman Ms ", in posession of the author, A much ful- 
ler account of this fight will be found in Hickley's History of 
Tazewell, and in Summers' History of Southwestern Virginia, 
to which the reader is referred, and attention is called to the 
correct date upon which the fight took place, the other publica- 
tions having the dates wrong by four years. About twetnty years 
ago some gentlemen in McDowell County, West Virginia, (this 
fight took place in what is now the territory of McDowell 
County), on a hunting tour over the side of the mountain near- 
by the battle ground and under a cliff of rock, found the skele- 
ton of a human being, and brought away the skull, and pre- 
sented the same to Mr. Hiram Christian, of McDowell. It was 
very peculiarly shapped, and all who saw it pronounced it the 
skull of an Indian. 

Capt. Henry Harman wrote some verses on this battle which 
are herein inserted, which are as follows : 


"Come all ye bold heroes whose hearts flow with courage, 

With respect pay attention to a bloody fray 
Fought by Captain Harman and valiant sons, 

With the murdering Shawnees they met on the way. 

This battle was fought on the twelfth of November, 

Seventeen hundred and eighty and eight, 
Where God of his mercy stood by those brave heroes, 

Or they must have yielded to a dismal fate. 

Oh! nothing would do this bold Henry Harman 
But down to Tug River without more delay, 

With valiant sons and their noble rifles. 

Intending a number of bears for to slay. 

They camped on Tug River with pleasing contentment. 
Till the sign of bloodthirsty Shawnees appears, 

Then with brave resolution they quickly embark. 

To cross the high mountains and warn the frontiers. 

1775-1794 97 

Brave Harman rode foremost with undaunted courage 
Nor left his old trail those heathen to shun; 

His firm resolution was to save Bluestone, 

Though he knew by their sign there were near three to one. 

The first salutation the Shawnees did give them, 

They saw the smoke rise from behind some old logs; 

Brave Harman to fight them then quickly dismounted, 

Saying, "Do you lie there you savage, murdering dogs?" 

He says, "My dear sons stand by me with courage, 

And like heroes fight on till you die on the ground;" 

Without hesitation they swiftly rushed forward; 

They'd have the great honor of taking their hair. 

At first by the host of the Redskins surrounded, 

His well pointed gun made them jump behind trees; 

At last all are slain, but two, and they wounded, 

Cherokee in the shoulder, and Wolf in the knees. 

Great thanks to Almighty for the strength and the courage. 
By which the brave Harmans triumphed o'er the foe; 

Not the women and children, they intended to slaughter. 
But the bloody invaders themselves are laid low. 

May their generation on the frontiers be stationed, 

To confound and defeat all their murdering schemes, 

And put a flustration to every invasion. 

And drive the Shawnees from Montgomery's fair streams." 

In the the early spring of 1789, James Roark and family 
lived at a gap of the ridge, dividing the waters of Clinch and 
Sandy Rivers, and near the head spring of the Dry fork of 
Sandy, and on and near the line dividing the counties of Rus- 
sell and Mongomery. A raiding party of Indians had come 
up the Dry fork of the Sandy, and unexpectedly to them, quite 
a snow had fallen and they took shelter or camped under a 
large overhanging rock opposite the mouth of Dick's Creek, of 
Dry fork. It was while under this rock, waiting for the snow 
to disappear, that they discovered William Wheatley, who 
lived in Baptist Valley, in search of his lost dog, killed him, 
mutulated his body, tore out his bowels, stretched them upon 
the bushes, his heart being found in one place, his liver in 
another. On a large beech tree near the place where Wheatly 
was killed, the Indians cut the figure of a man, which was 
plainly visible a few years ago. After the killing of Wheatley, 
and the snow had disappeared, they moved up Dry fork and fell 

98 New River Settlements 

upon the faniily of Roark, killing his wife and several children 
and then retired down the Sandy. 

In the fall of this same year of 1789, a body of Indians came 
into the Bluestone and upper Clinch settlements, crossed the 
East River mountain on to the waters of the Clear fork of Wolf 
Creek, prowled around for several days to find, as afterwards 
ascertained, the home of George and Matthias Harman, they 
supposed they had killed Captain Henry Harman in the fight 
on the Tug the year before. Late in the evening of the first day 
of October, 1789, they suddenly appeared at the door of the 
cabin of Thomas Wiley, on Clear Fork, at what is now known 
as the "Dill's Place." Mr. Wiley was from home, they took 
his wife, Virginia, and five children prisoners, plundered the 
house, and moved ofif up Cove Creek, where they killed all of 
Mrs. Wiley's children, crossed the East River mountain by the 
farm owned by the late Walter McDonald Sanders, down Bea- 
ver Pond Creek, by where the town of Graham,Virginia, is now 
situated, striking Bluestone, and across Flat Top mountain by 
way of the Pealed Chestnuts, and down the north fork of the 
Tug fork to the Harman battle ground, (a part of the same In- 
dians that captured Mrs. Wiley, were in the fight with Har- 
man.) On the battlefield they gathered together some of the 
bones of their comrades who had fallen in the fight, and be- 
moaned and bewailed their loss, and finally the leader of the 
party said to Mrs. Wiley, "Here I killed Old Skygusty," the 
name they had given Captain Harman; Mrs. Wiley replied, 
"No you didn't for I saw him last week." The Indian, appar- 
ently nettled at her reply, said, "You lie, you Virginia Huzza, 
you lie, for when I shot him I heard him call on his God." Mrs 
Wiley was taken to the Indian town at Chillicothe where she 
remained until the last days of September, 1792, when she es- 
caped; a full history of which will be given later on when we 
narrate the events occurring in year of 1792. This incident 
is taken in part from a letter of Mr. Armstrong Wiley and 
from a report made by Colonel Robert Trigg to the Governor 

1775-1794 99 

of Virginia whicli will be found in the Virginia Calendar Pa- 

A marauding party of Indians entered the Bluestone and 
upper Clinch settlements, in the year of 1790, which greatly 
alarmed the settlers, who took prompt measures to repel and 
punish them. They committed no other outrage than to steal 
a large number of horses from the people, which they succeed- 
ed in getting away with. At the coming of the Indians in this 
year of 1790, an event happened in the neighborhood of the 
Davidson-Bailey Fort, which was deeply impressed upon the 
minds of those conversant with what is about to be related. 
John Bailey, son of Richard, the settler, had married a daugh- 
ter of John Goolman Davidson, the settler, and the buildings at 
the fort being so crowded, and Mr. Bailey desiring to set out for 
himself, had on Boyer's Branch, about three-fourths of a mile 
north-east of the fort, erected him a fairly good one room log 
house to which he took his young wife, and there in the sum- 
mer of 1790, was born his first child and eldest son,Jonathan, 
who was only four days old when the Indians entered the 
neighborhood. The young mother seized her babe, mounted a 
horse and rode to the fort, from which she seemed to suffer 
no injury or inconvenience. If such were to happen in this our 
day there is at least a probability there would be a funeral or 
a heavy physician's bill to pay. 

Jonathan Bailey long lived, dying in 1770, leaving behind 
him a numerous progeny of as good people as live in any com- 

The General Assembly of Virginia in October, 1789, created 
the county of Wythe within the following boundaries: All 
that part of Montgomery which lies south and west of a line 
beginning in the Henry line at the head of Big Reedy Island, 
from thence to Wagon ford on Peek Creek, thence to the Clov- 
er bottom on Bluestone, thence to the Kanawha line, shall 
form one distinct county, and to be called and known by the 
name of Wythe. Court for Wythe to be held at the house of 
James McGavock." By this same act a part of the western 

100 New River Settlements 

part of tlie County of Botetourt was added to Montgomery. 
The western line of Wythe was the same as had been the west- 
ern line of Mongomery County viz: from the second ford of 
Holstein above the Royal Oak to the west end of Morriss' Knob 
and then to the head waters of the Sandy at Roark's gap. And 
this remained unchanged until the county of Tazewell was 
created in 1800. 

Andrew Davidson, son of John Goolman Davidson had mar- 
ried Rebecca Burke, granddaughter of James Burke, the re- 
puted discoverer of Burke's Garden, and had made his settle- 
ment at the head spring of the East River, less than a half mile 
from what is now the east limits of the city of Bluefleld, West 
Virginia. The spring of 1791 being late, Andrew Davidson 
having some important business at Smithfield (Draper's 
Meadows) from which his father and family had removed 
about ten years before, set off from home in the early part of 
April leaving at home his wife, his three small children, two 
girls and boy, and two bound children, orphans, whose names 
were Bromfleld. Mr. Davidson had requested his brother-in 
law, John Bailey, to look after his family. Shortly after Mr. 
Davidson's departure, perhaps two or three days, and while 
Mrs. Davidson was gathering sugar water from sugar maple 
trees close by the house, there suddenly appeared several In- 
dians, who told her she would have to go with them to their 
towns beyond the Ohio. There was no alternative although she 
was in no condition to make such a trip, as she was then rapid- 
ly approaching motherhood. Taking such plunder as they 
could carry, they set fire to the house and with their prisoners 
departed ; the Indians helping along with the children. On the 
way, near where Logan Court House, West Virginia, now 
stands, Mrs. Davidson by reason of the exertion and anxiety 
of mind gave birth to her child. Only two hours relaxation 
from the march was allowed her and they again pushed on. 
The little stranger after a day's time, they drowned. On the 
fateful morning on which Mrs. Davidson and her chidren were 
captured, John Bailey being at the fort informed his people 

1775-1794 101 

that he must go over and look after Andrew Davidson's fam- 
ily, whereupon one of his sisters, (he had but two,) told him 
to get her a horse and that she would go with him, to which 
he assented and secured the horse for her. They set out on 
the journey, going up Boyer's Branch to the gap in the ridge, 
where the livery stable of Mr. J. C. Higgenbothen now stands 
inside the city limits of Bluefield, and which spot has now been 
selected for the site of the Federal building shortly to be erect- 
ed. On reaching this gap Mr. Bailey discovered a heavy smoke 
from the direction of the Davidson house, and thereupon told 
his sister to remain on her horse in the gap and watch while he 
went forward to a piece of ground in the valley, (the hill on 
which lately stood the Higgenbothen residence, but which hill 
has been recently removed). He hurriedly returned, reporting 
the house on fire, and that evidently the Indians had been there 
and taken the people, as no one could be seen about the house. 
Mr. Bailey and his sister rode rapidly to the fort, gave the 
alarm to the neighborhood, and a party gathered as quickly as 
possible and pursued the Indians, but the leaves being dry the 
savages had left but few, if any marks, and the party was un- 
able to overtake them. On arriving at the Indian town, the 
little girls of Mrs. Davidson were tied to trees and shot to 
death before her eyes. The boy, her son, was given to an old 
squaw, who in crossing a river with him upset the canoe and 
the boy was drowned. As to what became of the two bound 
children, was by the white people never known. 

Mrs. Davidson was in captivity from April, 1791, until a 
date subsequent to Wayne's victory over the United Indian 
Tribes at Fallen Timbers in August, 1794. Mr. Davidson 
made the second trip in search of his wife before he found her. 
He had before his second trip received information through 
an old Indian which led him across the Canadian border, and 
stopping at a farm house to obtain a meal, observed a woman 
passing him as he entered the house, to whom he merely bowed 
and went in. Shortly the woman came in with a load of wood 
and laying it down, looked at the stranger for a moment, then 

102 New River Settlements 

turned to her Mistress, (for she had been sold as a servant to 
a Canadian French farmer), and said, "I know that man;" 
"Well, who is he?" said the French lady. "It is my husband! 
Andrew Davidson, I am your wife." Mr. Davidson was not 
only astounded, but joyfully and more than agreeably sur- 
prised, for when he last saw his wife, she was a fine healthy 
looking woman, her hair as black as a raven's wing, but had 
now turned to snowy white. Mr. Davidson returned, bringing 
with him his wife, and they settled at the mouth of Abb's Val- 
ley on a farm now owned by A. C. Davidson, Esq. Mr. and 
Mrs. Davidson raised another family of children, she long 
lived, and when she died, her remains were removed to and 
buried in the Burke burying ground at the Horse Shoe farm 
on New River in the now county of Giles. At the time of the 
capture of Mrs. Davidson in April, 1791, the place where she 
was captured was then in that part of Wythe County, which is 
now Mercer County, West Virginia. 

Major Robert Crockett was for a number of years including 

1791, and for some years later, the military commandant in 
Wythe County, and for a good part of the time made his head- 
quarters on the Clinch at Wynn's Fort. 

A band of Indians from the Ohio country, came in July, 

1792, into the Bluestone and upper Clinch settlements and be- 
gan their depredations — stealing horses, which they had found 
to be a profitable business. They stole the horses of the set- 
tlers, and ran them over into Canada, where they sold them at 
remunerative prices. 

Major Crockett assembled forty men at the place where 
stands the residence of the late ('aptain Thomas Peery. Among 
the number who obeyed the call of Major Crockett were Joseph 
Gilbert and Samuel Lusk, the latter a youth of about sixteen 
years, but with quite an experience as an Indian spy and scout, 
having made a number of trips with the said Joseph Gilbert, 
who was a noted Indian scout and hunter. 

The late Captain James Shannon of the county of Wyoming, 
West Virginia, when about ninety three years of age, related 

1775-1794 103 

to the autlior, that he rode behind his father on a horse to the 
assembly ground, and well recollected Joseph Gilbert as an ac- 
tive atheletic young man, and that he also saw Lusk on the 
same occasion. 

Major Crockett moved off with his men to follow the Indians, 
having no time to prepare provisions for the journey. They 
took the route down Horse Pen Creek, and to the head of Clear 
fork, and down to the Tug and on to the mouth of Four Pole, 
then crossing the dividing ridge between the waters of the 
Sandy and Guyandotte Rivers. They sent Gilbert and Lusk 
forward to a Buffalo lick on a creek flowing into the Guyan- 
dotte, to secure if possible a supply of game. It appears by the 
report of Major Crockett, found in the Virginia Calendar Pa- 
pers, that this was on the twenty fourth day of July that Gil- 
bert and Lusk set out for and reached the lick, where they 
found and killed a deer and wounded an elk, which they fol- 
lowed, some distance ; being unable to overtake it they returned 
to the lick to get the deer they had killed. On passing along 
the Buffolo path, near which they had left the deer, Gilbert in 
front, discovered a stone hanging by pawpaw bark over the 
path, Gilbert in an instant discerning what it meant called on 
Lusk to look out. He had scarcely uttered the words, when 
the Indians fired, a ball from one of their guns penetrating the 
hand of Lusk, in which he carried his gun, which caused him to 
drop the same. The Indians immediately began to close in on 
them, Gilbert putting Lusk behind him, and holding the In- 
dians off by the presentation of his gun. Gilbert and Lusk kept 
retreating as rapidly as they could with safety. Lusk's wound- 
ed hand was bleeding freely, and he became sick from the loss 
of blood, and begged Gilbert to leave him and get away; this 
Gilbert refused to do, saying, that he promised his, Lusk's 
motlier, to take care of him. Finally the Indians got close 
enough to knock Gilbert down with their tomahawks, which 
they did, and an Indian rushed up to scalp him, when Gilbert 
shot him dead, but another one of the Indians dispatched Gil- 
bert, and Lusk became a prisoner. The Indians immediately hur- 

104 New River Settlements 

ried with their prisoner down the creek to Guyandotte, and 
then down the river to the mouth of Island Creek, and went 
into camp behind a rocky ridge called Hog Back at the present 
day. Major Crockett instead of following the tracks of Gilbert 
and Lusk to the lick, had turned to the west, and crossed a 
ridge onto the right fork of Island Creek, and reached and 
camped at a point within two miles of the Indian camp, but 
without knowledge of his proximity to them. During the night 
Lusk suffered much with his hand until an Indian went off and 
brought some roots which he beat up into a pulp, made a poul- 
tice, and bound his hand which afforded relief. Early on the 
morning of the 25th the Indians took to their canoes, which 
they had left at this point on their way to the settlements, 
and rapidly descending the river to its mouth crossed the Ohio. 
On reaching the northern bank, they placed their canoes in 
charge of some of their party and taking Lusk with them 
crossed the country. 

The Indians had learned some things from their contact with 
white men, among them was to wear a hunting shirt, a loose 
garment which they fastened around the waist, leaving it open 
and loose above the waist. These Indians that had Lusk in 
charge had donned the hunting shirt. On the way across the 
country, on the evening they crossed the Ohio, and before halt- 
ing to camp, they passed through some prairie country, and 
Lusk observed that they kept now and then stooping down tak- 
ing something from the ground, and putting inside of their 
hunting shirts. When they had reached their camping place, 
and had built a fire, they went off and brought a large iron 
kettle, put on the fire, and put into it a considerable quantity 
of water, and when it began to approach the boiling point, the 
Indians gathered around the kettle and began to take some- 
thing from the inside of their hunting shirts and throw into the 
water, and seemed to be in high glee as indicated by their 
laughter. Lusk ventured up to see what it meant, and found it 
was dry land toads they had gathered on the route and were 
putting into the hot boiling water. They were preparing sup- 

1775-1794 105 

per, and when they had reduced the water and the toads to the 
consistency of a good thick mush, they took the kettle from the 
fire and permitted the mush to cool; they then took wooden 
spoons, offering one to Lusk, which he refused, and gathered 
around the kettle and began to eat. Finding that Lusk would 
not eat with them, one of their number went off and procured 
some jerked buffalo meat and furnished it to Lusk. The jour- 
ney was resumed the next morning, and during the day their 
town of Chillicothe was reached, where Lusk met and made the 
acquaintance of Mrs. Virginia Wiley, who had been captured 
on the first day of October, 1789, as herein before related. 

Lusk's wounded hand rapidly healed, and the Indians put 
him to work in their corn fields, and later to aid in building 
some new cabins for the winter. He appearing to be an expert 
at what is termed carrying up a corner, while so engaged and 
notching down a piece of timber, his axe threw off a lage chip 
of wood, which struck a stout young Indian about Lusk's size 
and age in the face, which made the young fellow very angry. 
Believing or pretending to believe, that Lusk had intentionally 
caused the chip to strike him, he thereupon challenged 
Lusk for a fight, which challenge Lusk accepted, came down 
from the house, and gave to his challenger a fearful thrashing. 
The other Indians stood by and praised Lusk, and made fun at 
the other fellow, who though whipped, was yet very angry. He 
went off and secured two large knives, came back offering one 
to Lusk, and challenged him to mortal combat. The older In- 
dians advised Lusk not to take the knife, but to keep out of his 
way, and at the same time shake his fist at him, which he did 
only adding insult to injury ; but finally by the interposition of 
the older heads the matter was adjusted. In September the In- 
dians planned and made ready for their annual fall hunt in the 
region of the lakes. It was towards the latter part of the 
month when the hunting party left Chillicothe going north, 
leaving only the squaws, the children, and an old Indian Chief 
in charge of the town, and the prisoners Lusk and Mrs. Wiley. 
Lusk determined to make his escape, and made known his in- 

106 New River Settlements 

tention to Mrs. Wiley, who declared that she would go with 
him. He sought to dissuade her as she could prabably not keep 
up with him in traveling, and might very much hinder and em- 
barrass him if they would be pursued. Up to the time of the 
departure of the hunting party, Lusk had made himself help- 
ful to his captors, but expressed himself as delighted with his 
new made acquaintances, and expressed a desire to remain with 
them, whereby he ingratiated himself fully into their confi- 
dence, so much so that they seemed not to have the slightest 
doubt of his sincerity. Not so as to Mrs .Wiley, who had fre- 
quently shown signs of uneasiness and inclination to go away ; 
so that when the hunting party was about to depart Mrs. Wiley 
was placed in charge of the old Indian Chief with directions to 
keep close watch on her. 

In the course of events it so happened late one September 
evening near the last of the month, and just before the sun was 
setting, that the Old Indian Chief, who was lying on the 
ground, required Mrs. Wiley to sit down beside him ; he draw- 
ing the skirts of her dress far enough towards him that he 
could lie on the same which he did ; turning his face from Mrs. 
Wiley, he went to sleep. He had on his belt his scalping 
knife, the squaws were busy about their house work, when Lusk 
made known to Mrs. Wiley, that he was ready and about to go, 
and she determined to go with him, and reaching over the body 
of the old Chief she secured his scalping knife, cut that por- 
tion of her dress underneath him from the other portion on 
her body, and hurrying down to the bank of the Scioto, where 
Lusk had a light canoe in readiness, they entered the same and 
immediately and as quietly as possible set off swiftly and rap- 
idly down the river for the southern bank of the Ohio, fifty 
miles away, Lusk using the pole and Mrs. Wiley the paddle. 
They reached the southern bank of the Ohio about daylight the 
next morning where they abandoned their canoe, and immedi- 
ately set out up the Ohio. Lusk believing they would be pur- 
sued, and afraid to follow up the Sandy or Guyandotte waters 
for fear of eitlier being overtaken, or meeting with some roving 

1775-1794 107 

bands of savages, he steadily kept his courfee up the southern 
bank of the Ohio to opposite Gallipolis, where a few French 
people lived, crossed over into the village and found a place of 
refuge, where he and Mrs. Wiley could hide away until the dan- 
ger of recapture had passed. 

In a few days a pursuing party of Indians reached Gallipo- 
lis, but failing to find the runaways soon departed. Mr. Lusk 
determined to take no risks by attempting to return through 
the Virginia Mountains, and finding some men passing up the 
Ohio in a push boat bound for Pittsburg, he secured passage 
with them, leaving Mrs. Wiley, who declined to go in the boat, 
with her kind protectors in Gallipolis. In a few days after 
Lusk's departure, Mrs. Wiley made up her mind to endeavor 
to make her way home by the Kanawha and New Rivers, which 
she did after many days, and a long tiresome, and dangerous 
journey, finally reaching her husband's brother and family at 
Wiley's Falls on New River in the now county of Giles, Vir- 

Lusk made his way to Pittsburg, and from thence to Phila- 
delphia, where he accidently met Major Joseph Cloyd, of Back 
Creek, and came home with him some time in October, about 
one month after his escape from the Indians at Chillicothe. 

It was related to the author several years ago by Captain Wil- 
liam Stowers, of Bland County, Virginia, then a man above the 
age of eighty years, but very intelligent, that he well remem- 
bered Mrs. Virginia Wiley, who a number of years after her re- 
turn from captivity visited his father's house on Clear fork of 
Wolf Creek near the spot where she was captured, and that her 
mind was weak, that in fact she had had but little mind since 
her return from captivity, and that he heard her relate to his 
father and family the story of her capture, the killing of her 
children on Cove Creek, her journey to the Indian town, and 
her escape; and among other things, her conversation with the 
Indian on the Harman battle field on Tug. A letter from Arm- 
strong Wiley to the author states that both Mrs. Wiley and her 

108 New River Settlements 

husband, Thomas Wiley are buried in the Wiley burying 
ground at Wiley's Falls in Giles County. 

John Goolman Davidson, to whom reference has heretofore 
been made, had with his family resided for some time preced- 
ing his removal to the Beaver Pond spring with Richard Bailey 
in 1780, at Smithfield (Draper's Meadows). While living at 
Smithfield, a man by the name of Rice had stolen a hog from 
Davidson, for which he was apprehended, convicted and sen- 
tenced to receive and did receive on his bare back well laid on 
forty lashes, save one. Rice was so enraged at Mr. Davidson, 
that he vowed he would have revenge, if he had to bring the In- 
dians upon him. We shall soon see how well Rice kept and per- 
formed his vow, and succeeded in having his revenge, al- 
though more than ten years had elapsed before the opportunity 
was afforded him. 

Mr. Davidson having some unfinished business at his former 
home in the valley of Virginia, Rockbridge County, among 
others, the collection of some eight hundred dollars due him, 
determined upon a visit to the valley to close up his business 
and get his money. As was not unusual when some one was 
going from the frontier into the settlements, it was noised 
throughout the neighborhood, that Mr. Davidson was going to 
make the journey. In the month of February, 1793, Mr. Dav- 
idson set out on horseback, reached his destination safely, set- 
tled his business, collected his money, and started on his way 
homeward, having with him an extra horse which he was lead- 
ing. He came over the usual route of travel to Rocky gap, was 
seen to pass south of that point by a family residing near the 
pathway. The spring of 1793 is said by the old people who 
then lived, to have been the earliest ever known by them, the 
timber putting forth its leaves the first of March. 

Richard Bailey, who has already been spoken of, had given 
to his youngest son, whose name was Henry, a small calf, which 
had been turned out with the other cattle in the range to make 
their living off the young twigs and leaves that had begun to 
shoot forth. The calf failing to come up to the fort with the 

1775-1794 109 

other cattle on the evening of the eighth day of March, 1793, 
Mr. Bailey told his son that it might have gotten mired in some 
swampy land down the creek, and that he must get up very 
early the next morning, which was on the ninth, and go look 
for his calf. The boy rose early, called his bear dogs, and set 
off down the Beaver Pond Creek in the direction of where Gra- 
ham, Virginia, is now situated. Not finding the calf on his 
outward trip, he on his return left the Buffalo trail and was 
passing up through the swampy bottom land, when his dogs 
suddenly raised their bristles as if they were about to engage 
in combat with some wild animal ; the boy supposing it was 
probably a wolf, rushed forward to see the fight, and looking 
along the path he saw a body of men and horses, which so 
alarmed him, that he fled to the fort and reported what he had 
seen. An older brother, Micajah, gathered his rifle and followed 
the party far enough, to discover that it was composed of a 
body of Indians. He immediately returned to the fort, spread 
the alarm, and Major Robert Crockett, then on the head of 
Clinch, gathered a party of men, and followed the Indians 
whose camp late one evening he discovered on the large island 
at the mouth of Island Creek, just across the river from where 
now stands Logan Court House, West Virginia. 

After carefully reconnoitering the position. Major Crockett 
decided to have the men lay on their arms that night, and make 
the attack at break of day the next morning. He had observed 
that the Indians had hobbled their horses and turned them out 
on the island to graze. It may be noted that this island con- 
tained originally, about one hundred acres, but after it was 
denuded of its timber and put in cultivation, the soil being of a 
sandy nature, has by the effect of high tides in the river been 
carried away until there remains now but a few acres of what 
was the original bottom. 

As it is said to have been, on the morning of the 15th of March, 
March, Major Crockett had his men up and arranged for the at- 
tack by the time it was light enough to see an object. He told his 
men that the Indians would be astir early, that while some were 

110 New River Settlements 

preparing breakfast, one or more would come out to round up 
the horses and drive them into camp. His instructions were 
for his men to wait for the horse drivers to start them toward 
the camp, and to then quietly follow them into camp and make 
the attack, Crockett had with him a man by the name of Gid 
Wright, who when the advance began, was thrown close to one 
of the Indians engaged in driving the horses, and who took a se- 
vere Buck Ague as the backwoodsmen term it, (extreme case of 
nervousness), and without obeying his orders fired at the In- 
dian missing him, but alarming the camp, so that the whole In- 
dian party took to flight. John Bailey, an active and quick 
man on foot, ran close enough as the Indians were leaving to 
kill one of them, the rest escaped, leaving their breakfast cook- 
ing, which the whites appropriated, and the stolen horses, all 
of which were recovered. Among the number of horses cap- 
tured was one recognized as belonging to Mr. Davidson, and 
the one which he had ridden from home, and on which was his 
saddle, witli one stirrup, a brass one, missing. The party im- 
mediately determined that Mr. Davidson had been killed by 
this gang, and his horse taken, and after eating their breakfast, 
and gathering up the horses they started for their homes and 
to search for Mr. Davidson's body. Samuel Lusk was with 
Major Crockett's party, and on the return assisted in the 
search for the body of Mr. Davidson. So soon as the party 
reached the settlement, they sent out men along the path lead- 
ing through Bailey's gap in East River mountain, and on to 
the Laurel fork of Clear fork of Wolf Creek, and through 
Rocky Gap, finding on the path on the mountain a hat band 
recognized as belonging to Mr. Davidson's hat. On inquiry it 
was found, that Mr, Davidson had passed the settlements gouth 
of Rocky gap before noon on the 8th day of March, and it was 
discovered at an old waste place at the mouth of Clear fork, 
that he had there fed his horses. Further investigation at the 
point where the path left the Laurel fork starting up the moun- 
tain, evidence appeared of the blade of a hatchet having been 
struck into a white oak tree, and that a gun had rested on the 

1775-1794 111 

hatchet, and near by on the bark of a beech tree was freshly- 
cut the name of "Rice," and under the root of the tree on the 
side of the creek, where the water had washed away the earth, 
the nude body of Mr. Davidson was found, so far advanced in 
decomposition it could not be removed to his home, and was 
buried near by where it was found and where it still remains. 
The statement by some writers that the body was carried to 
his home and buried is incorrect according to the statements 
of Mr. Joseph Davidson and Captain John A. Davidson, two of 
his great grandsons. 

Col. Robert Trigg, in his report to the governor, dated on 
April 10th, 1793, states that Davidson was killed on the 8th day 
of March of that year, and that there were twelve Indians in 
the party, who stole a large number of horses and passed 
through the center of the Bluestone settlement. 

Colonel Robert Crockett had reported in October, 1789, to the 
governor, the capture of Virginia Wiley, and the killing of her 
four children by the Indians on October 1st of that year. 

On October 17th, 1793, Major Robert Crockett and fifty 
others, among them Joseph Davidson, John Bailey, James Bail- 
ey, Reuben Bailey, Richard Bailey, William Smith and John 
Peery, sent a petition to the governor of Virginia, informing 
him of the defenceless condition of the border, and asking for 
assistance, and stating the killing by the Indians of John Da- 
vidson on the 8th day of March 1793, and that of Gilbert on the 
24th day of July 1792, and the capture of Samuel Lusk at the 
same time. 

The searching party for Mr. Davidson's body found eviden- 
ces on the ground that satisfied them that Mr. Davidson, had 
upon being shot from the tree where the blade of the hatchet 
had been buried, fallen from his horse which took fright and 
ran out into the brush and vines on the creek bottom, by which 
one of the brass stirrups had been pulled off. No doubt remains 
but that Rice and his party got the $800.00 which Mr. David- 
son had with him when killed. 

Several years after the killing of Mr. Davidson, Captain 

112 New River Settlements 

William Stowers, then a lad of some fifteen years, while plow- 
ing in the bottom where Mr. Davidson was killed, found a 
brass stirrup which was recognized by the family of Mr. David- 
son as one belonging to his saddle, and missing therefrom when 
his horse and saddle were recovered by Major Crockett and his 
men on the 15th day of March, 17{)3. 

This Indian incursion was the last made on the waters of 
Bluestone and the upper Clinch, but the troubles continued 
for a short while thereafter on the lower Clinch and the Hol- 
stein waters as well as along the valley of the Kanawha, where 
the Indians killed a man by the name of Harriman in the year 
1791 ; he was the last person killed in the valley by Indians. 

Davidson and Bailey, the settlers at the Beaver Pond spring 
in the year of 1780, like all other provident settlers who desired 
to secure good land, each acquired valuable landed estates, 
Bailey along the valley of the mountain and around the head of 
Beaver Pond spring, and Davidson in Wright's Valley, reach- 
ing from where the town of Graham is now situated eastward 
along the valley for three or four miles, including the land on 
which the city of Bluefield is now located. 

So much alarm and consternation was created along the up- 
per Kanawha, and lower New River waters in the early part of 
the year 1793, by prowling bands of Indians, that the governor 
of Virginia ordered a company of soldiers to rendezvous at 
the mouth of Elk on the Kanawha, and to scout through the 
country to the Ohio. 

Captain Hugh Caperton, who lived in Greenbrier County, on 
the New River, and who was the uncle of the younger Hugh, 
later of Monroe, was ordered to raise and did raise a company 
of New River Valley men for the service referred to. Captain 
Caperton with his men marched to the mouth of Elk, fixing his 
camp on the right bank of the river at its mouth. 

The celebrated Daniel Boone was the commissariat of this 
company. During the stay of these men on the Kanawha, they 
guarded the frontier, sending scouting parties to various points 
along the Ohio and protected the settlers then in the valley, 

1775-1794 113 

ad their homes, by placing one or more men at each house, 
t this time there were but few settlers in the valley, among 
lem George Clendenin, where Charleston now stands, Leon- 
rd Morriss, near where Brownstown now stands, and William 
'orriss at Kelley's Creek. Clendenin had removed from the 
reenbrier section, Leonard and William Morriss from the 
ounty of Culpeper, Virginia. 

David Johnston, member of Caperton's company, was sent 
) guard the house of Leonard Morriss. He and Morriss came 
["iginally from the same county. Mr. Morriss had a block 
ause for the protection of his family, and some slaves, among 
lem a negro woman, who one day, while Johnston was guard- 
ig the house, went outside the stockade to pick up some wood, 
ad was seized by two Indians and carried away. On another 
:!casion, Mrs. Morriss went just outside the gate to milk her 
)w, the guard accompanying her. He discovered an Indian a 
ttle way off in the top of a tree endeavoring to get a view of 
le fort and its inmates. Mr. Morriss had a small patch of 
)rn in the bottom along the river, which was about ready for 
jtting, and desiring to look at and to see if anything was 
"oubling it took Johnston, the guard along with him; they 
freeing to separate taking different directions so as to get a 
aick view of the situation and return, and further agreeing 
lat the report of the discharge of a gun should be the signal 
)r them to hasten to the fort. They had not long been out 
ntil the report of the discharge of a gun was heard. John- 
ton reached the fort, and Mrs. Morriss opened for him the 
ate, which was immediately closed, supposing Mr. Morriss 
'^as probably shot, and that the Indians would make a rush 
3r the fort. There being several guns in the fort, Mrs. Morriss 
aid, "Johnston I will load and you shoot." Mr. Morriss soon 
lade his aj^pearance unhurt. Neither he nor Johnston had 
red their guns, and after waiting some time they ventured 
ut again, and on going to the place from whence came the re- 
port of the discharge of the gun, they found that the Indians 
ad shot a hog there and dressed it. These men of Caperton's 

114 New Kivbr Settlements 

company had quite a number of skirmishes with the Indians, 
but no one was hurt save one man killed, who went across the 
Kanawha to kill a turkey, whose gobble he had heard. Very 
soon after crossing the river, the report of the discharge of a 
gun was heard, and soon thereafter the gobble of the turkey was 
repeated; whereupon, another of the men remarked that he 
would get that turkey, and going a considerable distance up the 
river he crossed, and made his way to the place where he still 
heard the turkey, and on stealthily creeping up, he discovered 
the turkey to be an Indian hid in some sprouts that had grown 
up around a chestnut stump. He killed the Indian and scalped 
him, but found the Indian had first killed the other man and 
scalped him. 

Captain Caperton and Daniel Boone, his commissariat, had a 
difficulty, and Boone left the camp, and was absent for some 
time. Some of the scouting parties met with him at the mouth 
of the Kanawha, and told him of the necessities of the company 
and that they needed food, and enquired of him why he had 
gone off and left them; he replied, "Caperton didn't do to my 

The following are the names of the men who belonged to 
Caperton's company, and were with him on the Kanawha in 

Samuel Henderson James Keely 

Mathias Meadows George Lake 

Isaac Cole John Conner 

John Cooke John Burton 

Edward Farley Drewry Farley 

William Smith Thomas Cooke 

William Lee Robert Lee 

William Graham Andrew Johnston 

James Montgomery John Garrison 

William Stowers Travis Stowers 

Andrew Hatfield Jonas Hatfield 

John Rowe David Marshall 

Francis Farley Isaac Smith 

1775-1794 115 

David Johnston Moses Massey 

Henry Massey ' James Graham 

David French David Graham 

Matthew Farley James Sweeney 

Felix Williams Joseph Canterbury 

James Stuart John Scott 

James Abbott Noell 

Patrick Wilson Isaiah Calloway . 

John Lewis William Wilson 

Joseph Abbott George Abbott 

On the 20th of August, 1794, General Wayne won his cele- 
brated victory over the Indians, at Fallen Timbers in what is 
now Lucas County, Ohio. This defeat completely broke the 
Indian power in the Ohio Valley, and a treaty of peace was 
soon after made, which gave perfect quiet to all the border set- 
tlements, at least south of the Ohio, and perfect peace reigned 
supreme for the first time in forty years. No sooner was the 
news of Wayne's victory received on the Virginia border, than 
the whole country north and west of the settlements, swarmed 
with surveyors and land speculators. Nearly if not quite the 
whole of the territory south of the Kanawha and the Ohio to 
the head waters of Holstein, were entered, surveyed, and car- 
ried into grant. 

Robert Morris, the patriot and financier of the American 
revolution, secured grants for about eight millions of acres of 
land. The territory comprised within the now counties of 
Mercer, Raleigh, Fayette, McDowell, Wyoming, Boone, Logan, 
Mingo, Wayne. Cabell, Lincoln, Kanawha and Putnam were 
almost completely shingled over with these large grants, and 
frequently they lapped upon each other. Commencing on the 
East River Mountain, on the south side, and then again on the 
north side, were two grants to Robert Pollard, one for 50,000 
and the other for 75,000 acres, then came the grant of 80,000 
acres to Samuel M. Hopkins, a grant of 50,000 acres to Robert 
Young, 40,000 acres to McLaughlin, 170,000 acres to Moore 
and Beckley, 35,500 acres to Robert McCullock, 108,000 acres 

116 New River Settlements 

to Rutter and Etting, 90,000 acres to Welch 150,000 

acres DeWitt Clinton, 50,000 acres to Doctor John Dillon, 480,- 
000 acres to Robert Morris, 500,000 acres to the same, 150,000 
acres to Robert Pollard, 500,000 acres to Wilson Carey Nich- 
olas, 300,000 acres to the same, 320,000 acres to Robert Morris, 
57,000 acres to Thomas Wilson, 40,000 acres to George Pickett, 
and farther down Sandy, Guyandotte and Coal Rivers were 
large grants to Elijah Wood, Smith and others. 

Peace having been restored along the frontier settlements, 
and no further danger being apprehended from the Indians, 
there was a great rush of the people, not only from Eastern 
Virginia and Western North Carolina on to the New River 
waters, and on to Kentuck}-, but there was a vast throng of 
people from the New River Valley, that quickly penetrated the 
country between the New River settlements and the Ohio, and 
settled on the Sandy, Guyandotte and Coal River waters, even 
reaching to the Ohio; among them, the McComas', Chapmans, 
Lucas', Smiths, Coopers, Napiers, Hunters, Adkins, Acords, 
Aliens, Fryes, Dingess, Lusks, Shannons, Baileys, Jarrells, 
Egglestons, Fergusons, Marcums, Hatflelds, Bromflelds, Hald- 
rons, Lamberts, Pauleys, Lawsons, Workmans, Prices, Cookes, 
Clays, Godbeys, Huffs, McDonalds, Whites, Farleys, Kezees, 
Perdues, Ballards, Barretts, Tonej's, Conleys, Stollings, Strat- 
ons, Buchanans, Deskins, and many others, who largely peo- 
pled, and left honored descendants throughout the section 



When these people left their homes for new ones in the wil- 
derness, they took with them the manners and customs of the 
people among vv'hom they had lived, and upon their settling 
down in their adopted abode made such changes in these man- 
ners and customs as their new situation, surroundings and ne- 
cessities required. It often happened that the new emigrant on 
selecting his proposed future home, found himself very far re- 

1775-1794 117 

moved from any one he called neighbor. From whence he re- 
moved, he was occasionally honored with a visit of his friends 
and neighbors, who could come and go without hinderance or 
fear of molestation. In this wilderness country he must travel 
with his trusted rifle, even as against wild beast that filled the 
forest. Later on, after the country had began to settle up, new 
comers were joyfully received, and the young people on hear- 
ing of the approach of the new people coming to the neighbor- 
hood, would often go a day's journey in order to meet and 
welcome them. The young women would make this trip bare- 
foot, with their dresses so short they reached but little below 
their knees. 

A wedding was always a time of high glee. Usually the 
groom and his friends rode horseback to the house of the bride's 
father, where there was generally plenty of applejack, and 
every body would take a drink, even the ministers of that day 
thought it nothing a. miss for them to take a toddy. At the 
bride's house and ceremony performed, came the dinner, after 
which the fiddling and the dancing, the songs and plays among 
the young folks of "Old Sister Phoebe," would begin : 

"I'll put this hat on your head to keep your head warm, 
I'll give you a sweet kiss, 'twill do you no harm." 

The neighbors soon gathered, chopped logs and erected a 
house for the young couple. At a log rolling and house raising 
there was generally a quilting, and at night a dance. It was 
no easy matter for the young people, who wished to get mar- 
ried to procure the license, for as a rule they lived a long dis- 
tance from the clerk's oflSce. For many years after the forma- 
tion of Giles County, it was the habit of Captain John Mc- 
Claugherty, who was both deputy clerk and deputy sheriff of 
that county, to go once, and occasionally twice a year down on 
to the waters of the Coal and Guyandotte, either to collect 
taxes or to serve process, and he made it a rule to fill his pock- 
et with blank licenses, in order to accommodate the young peo- 
ple, who had always to put off" their weddings until the Captain 
put in his appearance, and when he did, it was soon noised 

118 New River Settlements 

abroad and the young men about to be married hurried to the 
Captain to get the necessary papers. 

There were no schools in that day, and but few boys learned 
even to read or write. Afterwards, if a school teacher came 
into the neighborhood and was employed to teach school, he 
usually boarded around among the families; that is, after set- 
tlements had progressed far enough for him to do this. Each 
family was largely a little independent colony of itself. The 
father and sons worked with mattock, axe, hoe, and sickle. A 
loom in every house was a necessity, and almost every woman 
was a weaver, and wove the linsey-woolsey made from flax cul- 
tivated by her own hands, and from the wool of sheep — when 
they had any. The man tanned or dressed the buck skin, the 
woman was the tailor and shoemaker, made the deer skin sif- 
ters to be used instead of bolting cloths. For the table ware gen- 
erally wooden trenchers, platters, noggins, and bowls. The 
cradle of pealed hickory bark or a sugar trough, and plow- 
shares were made of wood, chaff beds if the man had been for- 
tunate enough to raise any small grain, otherwise leaves were 
substituted. Then there was the hand mill, and the hominy 
block with a hole burned in the top as a mortar where the pestle 
was worked. Some times a gritting board was used, and later 
a pounding mill was invented which was operated by water in- 
stead of muscle. For sugar resort was had by tapping the su- 
gar maple trees, and boiling down the water. Salt and iron 
could not be had in the backwoods, and each family gathered 
ui) its furs and peltries, and later ginseng, which were carried 
out on horses to some coast town, and exchanged for salt 
and iron. Some, among them Captain James Moore of Abb's 
Valley, raised considerable number of horses, which they drove 
to the markets east of the Alleghanies. 

It was no common thing at that time, for a man on the 
New Eiver waters to drive a two year old steer to Fincastle 
and exchange the same for a bushel of salt, and bring it back 
on a pack horse. Their horses were usually unshod. Captain 
William T. Moore, of Abb's Valley, told of a horse that the In- 

1775-1794 119 

dians had taken from his Grandfather, James Moore, but which 
had been recovered, and which he had plowed, and which lived 
to the age of thirty five years, and never had a shoe on its foot. 

After the backwoodsman had gotten to raising hogs, for at 
the beginning he could not do so on account of the bears de- 
stroying them, he would drive his hogs to market, selling and 
exchanging them for needed articles at home. The life of these 
people was a long and dangerous struggle, they had to fell the 
forests, encounter the forest fires, deep snows and freshets. 
Swarms of deer flies and midges rendered life a torment in 
warm weather. Rattlesnakes and copperheads were plentiful, 
and constant sources of danger and death. For an antidote for 
tlie bite of a poisonous serpent bear's oil was freely applied, 
and some times salt, when they had it. Wolves and bears were 
inveterate foes of the live stock, and the panther occasionally 
attacked a man. In the early settlement of the country near 
the mouth of Wolf Creek in what is now Giles County, the dogs 
of Mr. Landon Duncan drove a panther up a tree. Mr. Duncan 
being from home, his wife took his rifle gun and shot and killed 
the animal ; it measured nine feet in length. Every backwoods- 
man was a hunter, and the forests were filled with deer, tur- 
keys and pigeons, and out of these and the bear, buffalo and 
elk he made not only his meat, but largely his living. The 
black and grey squirrels were very numerous, sometimes de- 
stroying fields of corn, and at times in immense companies 
would migrate, and cross mountains and rivers. A race of men 
unused to war and ever present dangers, would have been help- 
less before such foes as these wild beasts and the Indians. 

People coming from the old world, no matter how thrifty 
and adventurous, could not hold their own on the frontier. 
They had to seek protection from the Indians by a bold living 
wall of American backwoodsmen. These border men were hunt- 
ers, wood choppers, farmers and soldiers. They built and man- 
ned their own forts, did their own fighting in their own way 
under their own commanders, when they had such, but general- 
ly every man was his own commander. There were no regular 

120 New River Settlements 

troops along the frontier, and if the Indians came into the 
country, each border man had to defend himself, until there 
was time to arouse the country' and gather help to repel the foe. 
Every man from his childhood wag accustomed to the use of the 
rifle, and even a bo}- at twelve years was regarded old enough 
to have a gun, and was soon taught how to use it. He at least 
could make a good fort soldier. The war was never ending, for 
even the times of so-called peace were broken by forays and 
murders. A man might grow from boyhood to middle age on 
the border, and yet never recall a single year in which some of 
his neighbors were not killed by the Indians. As the settle- 
ments continued to grow they each had their various officers, 
who in fact exercised but little authority, as they had no way 
of enforcing orders, and all services rendered were merely vol- 

When a group of families moved out into the wilderness, for 
protection they would build for themselves a block house or 
stockade, a square palisade of upright logs, and looped it with 
port holes, with a large gate that could be strongly barred in 
case of necessity. This fort or stockade was generally safe 
from any attack the savages might make upon it, unless they 
could take it by surprise. This backwoodsman was generallj- 
an American by birth and parentage, and of mixed race, but 
the dominant strain in their blood was that of the Scotch-Irish, 
so called. The Irish Presbyterians were themselves already a 
mixed people, though mainly from Scotch ancestors, who 
came originally from both lowlands and highlands, for among 
both were Scotch Saxons and Scotch Celts. From this Scotch- 
Irish stock, came David Crockett, (1) John Robertson, Andrew 
Lewis, Andrew Jackson, Samuel Houston, the Prestons, Cum- 
mings, Johnstons, Shelbys, Campbells, Grahams, Banes, Gil- 
lespies, Georges, McDonalds, McKensey and McComas'. 

No great number of them came to America prior to 1730, but 

(1). David Crockett is said to have learned the hatter's trade at 
Christiansbui'g, Virginia. 

1775-1794 121 

hy which time they came by multitudes; (2) for the most part, 
in two streams ; the larger to Philadelphia, tlie lesser to Charles- 
ton, South Carolina. Those from Philadelphia soon made their 
way southwest into the valley of Virginia and to the Piedmont 
region ; while those from Charleston soon pushed their way up 
to the mountains, and with those in Virginia became the ad- 
vanced posts of civilization. They were wholly a different peo- 
ple in manners, customs and temperament from the people of 
the tidewater region, in which there was a large admixture of 
Germans from Pennsylvania, especially so in the Virginia Val- 
ley. Some of this German population came across the Alle- 
ghanies, and settled in part, in what is now Montgomery Coun- 
ty, and in the eastern portion of what is now Giles County, 
among them the Kinsers, Bargers, Highbarges, Shufflebargers, 
Hornbargers, Phlegars, Sibolds, Surfaces, Snidows, Straleys, 
Boltons, Clyburns, Noslers, Decks. Millers, Honakers, Keisters, 
Croys, Worleys and Woolwines. There came also some of the 
Scotch-Irish people into the same territory, among them the 
McDonalds, Blacks, McKenseys, Johnstons, Christians, Pres- 
ton,s Craigs, Triggs, McGavocks, Wileys, and Whitakers. (3) 
Some Hugenots also came into the territory of what is now 
Giles County, among them the Pearis' Hares and DeCamps; 
and in the same territory came some Hollanders, among them, 
the Lybrooks (Leibroch), Mosers, Walls, Decks and Douthats.. 
Most of tliese people brought with them their Bibles, which was 
as a usual thing the guide of their lives, and although they at 
first had but few, if any ministers among them, yet as a rule 
they were religiously inclined, many of them coming from 
countries where they had been taught religious principles, but 
those coming direct from the old world did not comprehend 
what religious freedom and soul liberty meant in its fullest 
sense and its fullest extent, until they reached the wilderness 
country, where every man could worship God according to the 
dictates of his own conscience. They had no church buildings, 

(2). Roosevelt's "Winning of the West." 

(3). The Willeys and Whittakers came from North Carolina. 

122 New River Settlements 

but gathered in the groves, "God's first temples" and in dwell- 
ing houses to have worship. 

Captain James Moore, and also Zechariah Muusey, grand- 
father of the distinguished William E. Munsey, were christian 
men and had worship in their families. Munsey was an early 
Methodist Preacher. 

The first preachers that came into the wilderness country, and 
in fact all who came up to a period long after the close of the 
American Revolution, were Dissenters, who found perfect free- 
dom in the wilderness from molestation, interruption or ar- 
rest. The nearest church of England man to this wilderness 
country for many long, long years, was located at Fincastle, 
but so far as known he never ventured across the Alleghanies. 
Among the first, if not the very first, preachers of the Gospel 
that ever stood on or reached the banks of the New River were 
the two who accompanied Lewis' Sandy expedition in 1756. 
and whose names were Brown and Craig. (4) The first minister 
to permanently locate in this wilderness section, was the distin- 
guished and learned Presbyterian, Charles Cummings, who 
came to a place near the present town of Abingdon in 1772. 
Six years thereafter came Elder Tidence Lane, a Baptist Min- 
ister who is believed to have founded the Baptist church at St. 
Clair's bottom in 1777 or 1778, and who organized two churches 
on the Holstein waters, one on Buffalo ridge six miles east of 
Jonesboro, and Cherokee Baptist church four miles east of 
Jonesboro, both now in Tennessee. In 1773 came Squire 
Boone from the Yadkin in North Carolina, and whether he was 
regularly ordained Baptist Minister or not, he at least 
preached the Gospel. He spent the winter of 17734 in Castle's 
woods, now in Russell County. A little later came James Ab- 
bott, a Baptist Minister from Culpeper County, to the New 
River section. And in 1777 came John Alderson, a Baptist 
Minister from the Valley of Virginia, and located on Green- 
brier River, and a little later came a Mr. Johnston, Baptist 
preacher who subsequently went to the Kanawha Valley, and 

(4). They were Presbyterian ministers from the Valley. 

1775-1794 12 


then on to Kentucky. Later still came Josiali Osborn, Lewis 
Alderson and James Ellison, all Baptist Ministers who located 
in the Greenbrier section. 

The early Baptist preachers, in southwest Virginia, were El- 
ders Jonathan IMulkey, Andrew Baker, Edward Kelley, Bar- 

nett Reynolds, John Bundridge, Colley, Jesse Senter, 

and Edwards. In the year of 1788- came the Rev. Fran- 
cis Asbury, the first Methodist Bishop of America. He rein- 
vigorated the itinerant system, and sent missionaries into 
wide ranges of country to preach and found new societies. 
And it is said of him that in 1785 he laid the foundation for 
the first Methodist College in America, and organized many so- 
cieties throughout the country. There were practically no 
church buildings in the wilderness in the days of Bishop As- 
bury and other early preachers; now the country is dotted 
over with numerous church buildings of nearly all religious 

Landon Duncan, born in Fauquier County, Virginia, re- 
moved from thence to Stokes County, North Carolina, and 
from there to what is now Giles County, about the close of the 
18th century, became a Baptist preacher of the order of New 
Lights, but in 1818 changed his views, and united with the fol- 
lowers of those who adopted the doctrines taught afterwards by 
Alexander Campbell. Mr. Duncan was an earnest, faithful 
preacher during the greater part of his life, which ended about 
18G7. For many years of his young life he was a school teacher, 
having among his pupils the late General John B. Floyd, and 
others who became prominent in their day. Mr. Duncan was 
for many years, the Commissioner of the Revenue for Giles 

Except in portions of Greenbrier, Monroe, Montgomery and 
Tazewell, Presbyterianism had but little footing for many 
years. Methodism seemed to be well adapted to the soil, and 
took root quickly, sprang up and grew vigorously. Among 
some of the early preachers of that denomination was Rev. 
George Eaken, an Irishman, and most usually called ''Father 

124 New River Settlements 

Eaken ;" quaint and i)eculiar was his stj'le. There was held in 
the days of Methodism in its early beginnings in this section, 
near the residence of the late Colonel John S. Carr, in what is 
now Mercer County, a campmeeting, which Father Eaken at- 
tended jear by year. Of those who came to the meeting, as 
regularly as the meeting was held, were people of the country, 
known and designated as "Todds," and so designated on ac- 
count of their foxey and frolicking disposition, That is they 
Avere drinkers, fighters, gamblers, horse racers and wits gen- 
erally. These Todds always got happy at campmeeting, and 
usually professed to have gotten religion. Father Eaken was 
an observant man, and having seen these same people engaged 
in drinking and general carousal shortly after the close of the 
meeting, he prepared himself for them at the next and while 
the meeting was well under way the Todds in a good way 
shouting, he suddenly arose, and cried out in a loud voice, 
''Would that the good Lord would take a liking to these Todds 
just now, for if they ever get to heaven it will be from a camp- 
meeting." The distinguished William G. Brownlow was once 
in the County of Tazewell and preached at Bluestone. Among 
the early Methodist Ministers who were highly esteemed 
in this section of the country were Thomas K. Catlett and Ja- 
cob Brillhart. The Metliodist had class leaders and exhorters, 
among the latter was one Abraham Garretson, who lived on 
the East River and whose custom was to go on the Sabbath 
into the different neighborhoods in what is now Mercer Coun- 
ty and exhort. Garretson had a neighbor by the name of 
Blankenship, who though not a christian, yet a constant at- 
tendant at his Sunday Exhortations and who always took his 
position near the speaker and during the service frequently 
said "Amen ! Amen !" 

On an early Sunday morning in the month of March, Mr, 
Blankenship rose early, and went out to feed his cow prepara- 
tory to be off to brother Garretson's meeting that day, to be 
held at a neighbor's. With Mr. Blankenship to feed his cow went 
his dog, which ran a raccoon up a tree, which Mr. Blankenship 

1775-1794 125 

captured and took to his house, stripped off its hide, and while 
engaged in stretching the same on the side of his cabin there 
rode by in the direction of where Mr. Garretson wa^ to hold his 
meeting a Mr. Elijah Peters, a Magistrate of the County. Mr. 
Blankenship hurried up his work, got his breakfast, took a 
shave and put off for the meeting. Mr. Garretson's subject for 
the occasion, was the violation of the Sabbath, working on 
Sunday; going "coon hunting." Mr. Blankenship squirmed 
and twisted as the speaker earnestly told his hearers of these 
various Sunday violations till finally Mr. Blankenship being 
impressed with the thought that Squire Peters had told Mr. 
Garretson that he had been coon hunting on Sunday, deter- 
mined that he would stand the scourging no longer, and rising 
from his seat and addressing the speaker said, "Brother Gar- 
retson, who told you I went coon hunting on Sunday?" To 
which Garretson replied : "My Lord and Master," whereupon 
Mr. Blankenship said in a loud voice: "Well Brother Garret- 
son if Squire Elijah Peters is your Lord and Master, mark my 
name off of your book." 

Zechariah Munsey was of a family of French extraction, 
lived in Giles County, and Avas a local Methodist Preacher, 
and went into various neighborhoods and held meetings. He 
was a peculiar, eccentric man with a strange drawling voice. 
In the early days, one of his preaching places was at Mechan- 
icsburg, a small hamlet on Walker's Creek. In his congrega- 
tion at this place were a number of young people who often 
became amused at his quaint and peculiar expressions and 
were often led into laughter thereby. Mr. Munsey had 
frequently reprimanded them, and on one occasion their con- 
duct so disturbed him that it called forth the following utter- 
ance from him : "No young gentleman nor young lady prop- 
erly trained will misbehave at Divine service, and you are in 
the habit of doing this, and if the people of Mechanicsburg had 
their just dues, they would have been dead and in hell forty 
years ago; it's the truth and you know its the truth." 

David Munsey, the father of the distinguished William E. 

126 New River Settlements 

Munsey was a son of Zechariah, aud was also a Methodist 
Preacher, William E. Munsey spent a part of his young life in 
or near that wild, rough section of Giles County known as Dis- 
mal. Rough as herein referred to means mountainous and thin- 
ly settled. At a campmeeting held at Wabash in the year of 
1866 or 1867, William E, Munsey preached on Sunday at 11 
o'clock a, m,, on the subject of'Hell and the Lost Soul." A 
large and attentive audience heard him, among the number. 
Captain John A. Pack, who always had a vein of fine humor 
and wit. Captain Pack walked up to where was standing a 
small group of his acquaintances and friends, and inquired if 
they knew why Mr. Munsey had such clear conception of Hell. 
Some one inquired why, to which the Captain made answer, 
"because he was raised up on Dismal," 

Of this Munsey family there were several preachers, a doc- 
tor and two or more lawyers. The preachers were Zechariah, 
Nathaniel, David, and William E,, the lawyers, Thomas J, 
Munsey and Thomas J, Munsey, Jr., and Doctor Munsey, a 
physician of note, who resides at Pearisburg, Virginia, 

Among the most remarkable eccentric, i||ftinerant, yet local 
Methodist preachers that ever lived in the New River Valley, 
was Robert Sawyers Shetfey, who was born in the county of 
Wythe, Virginia, July 4, 1820, and died in Giles County, Vir- 
ginia, in 1902. He was a son of Henry Sheffey, of Wythe, and 
came into the New River Valley some time in 1859, where he 
married for his second wife a Miss Stafiiord in what is common- 
ly known as Irish settlement, in Giles County, where Mr. Shef- 
fey located. For reasons of his own, he never united with the 
Conference, but continued throughout his career as an itiner- 
ant, going from place to place, and wheresoever his inclina- 
tions led him. He was eccentric beyond description. That 
he was a pious devout christian and Godly man was never 
doubted. He was a man of wonderful faith in God, and was 
usually most eloquent in iiublic prayer. When troubles and 
difficulties surrounded him his oft repeated statement was, 
"I'll go and talk to the Lord about it." One thing about this 

1775-1794 127 

good man which was most remarkable, that bis prayers for spe- 
cific things were not only not in vain, but what he asked the 
Lord for, he in some way or some how always seemed to receive 
it So often were his prayers answered, and his highest hopes 
and aspirations gratified, that people who knew him well and 
were disposed to do evil things were frequenly alarmed for fear 
he would call down vengeance from heaven upon their guilty 
heads, and many believed that if he should ask the Lord to 
smite them with pestilence or death it would be done. The ec- 
centricities of this man led numbers of people to express 
doubts as to his sanity. Some of these expressions reached 
Mr. Sheffey, and he often publicly repeated what he had heard, 
and his only comment thereon was, "Would to the Lord they 
were crazy on the same subject that I am." 

Many and interesting are the stories and anecdotes told of 
this preacher and of his conduct; some of which will here be 
related, and from which it will appear that while his eccen- 
tricities often appear therein, yet the great and strong faith of 
the man is also exhibited. Twenty-five or more years ago Mr. 
Sheffey had a regular preaching place on East River in Mer- 
cer County, near the residence of Mr. Anderson Tiller, at whose 
house, when in the neighborhood, he made his stopping place, 
and where he was always carefully looked after and enter- 
tained. It was known that Mr. Sheffey was exceedingly fond 
of sweet things, and especially of honey. On an occasion, when 
on a preaching tour, he went to fill his appointment on East 
River, and became as was usual the guest of his brother, Tiller. 
Being on a Sunday morning and late in the summer season and 
while at the breakfast table, Mr. Tiller remarked to Mr. Shef- 
fey that he regretted that he had no honey for him, that his 
bees had done no good, had not swarmed and that he feared 
they had frozen out in the winter or that some insect had de- 
stroyed them, and that the season was too far spent to have any 
swarms. Mr. Sheffey arose from the table and went down up- 
on his knees, and told the Lord that the brother's bees had not 
swarmed, and that there was no honey in the house, and he 

128 New River Settlements 

implored the Lord to have the bees swarm. Scarcely had 
his petition ceased when the swarms came with such rapidity 
that Mr. Tiller was unable to procure rapidly enough sufficient 
gums to save the swarms. The truth of the incident is vouch- 
ed for by the best people in the neighborhood of where it oc- 
curred, and Mrs. James R. White the daughter of Mr. Tiller, 
and who still lives, and who was at home unmarried at the hap- 
pening of the incident, vouches for the truthfulness of 
the story. 

At a meeting being held by Mr. Sheffey at Jordan's Chapel, 
now in Summers County, Dr. Bray, a physician in the neigh- 
borhood, together with his wife, was present at Sunday morn- 
ing service and had with them a nursing infant child, which 
was taken suddenly ill about the close of the service. The 
mother became alarmed and grief stricken about the condition 
of her child, and in her paro:^sms she cried out that her child 
was dying. A large number of people were present and gath- 
ered around the mother and child supposed to be dying, when 
Mr. Sheffey appeared and being informed of the cause of the 
trouble, said, "Brother, give me the little child," and taking it 
in his arms he fell upon his knees, and in a most earnest pray- 
er to God asked for the life of the little child and that it 
might be restored to its mother. Arising from his position on 
the ground, he handed the child to its father, remarking, ''here 
brother is your little child well and all right;" and so it was. 

Mr. Sheffey had a right good vein of humor In his makeup, 
and he occasionally exercised that faculty to the discomfiture 
of people. Some thirty years ago, there lived on the upper 
waters of Brush Creek, a christian gentleman by the name of 
Robert Karr, a member of the Methodist Church, at whose 
house Mr. Sheffey was entertained, when on his preaching 
tours in that neighborhood. He had a protracted service in 
the neighborhood of Mr. Karr, which had continued some 
weeks, and which Mr. Karr had not attended, and whose non- 
attendance Mr. Shert'ey had observed, and taking his brother 
Karr to task about his want of interest in the meeting, enquir- 

1775-1704 129 

ed why he did not attend ; Mr. Karr replied that he had a good 
reason, and being pressed by Mr. Shelfey to give his reason, 
he finally said, "Well, I don't just exactly like your way;" 
whereupon Mr. Sheffey with a ha ! ha ! said, "Neither does the 

On the occasion last mentioned or a similar one, while Mr. 
Sheflfey was holding a meeting at Mr. Karr's, early one Sunday 
morning, a young man rode up to the house and delivered to 
Mr. Sheffey a message from his wife that his little son, Eddy, 
was very sick, and that the doctors had said he could not live 
and for him to come home at once. Mr. Sheffey made no re- 
sponse to the message, but went off a distance to some high 
granite boulders on the top of the highest of which he went to 
the Lord in prayer, and continued to pray until the time had 
arrived for him to meet his congregation at the church. On 
reaching the pulpit, he related to his congregation the message 
he had received, and then said, "I have talked to the Lord 
about this, and Eddy is not going to die." Eddy still lives, a 
bright, intelligent, useful and honored citizen. 

Mr. Sheffey had wonderful faith in God's providences, his 
care for his people in providing for their wants, physical as 
well as spiritual. It is told of him that on one occasion he met 
a man in the road on a very cold day, and that the man had on 
no socks, and that Mr. Sheffey observing this took off his and 
gave them to the man. After riding some distance he stopped 
at a house to warm his feet, and that the lady of the house said 
to him that she had knit for him some nice pairs of socks which 
she wished to present him. Another thing may be mentioned 
of this man, and that was the tender care of his horse and of 
other animals. He could not bear to see them suffer, not even 
a bug if turned on its back, and he has been known to dis- 
mount from his horse and turn it over. If he found what ap- 
peared to him to be a hungry animal or dog, he would give it 
his lunch rather than eat it himself. The story is told of him 
and another preacher who were out in some wild mountain dis- 
trict, that on leaving the house where they had been entertain- 

130 New River Settlements 

ed, the woman put a lunch in Mr. Shefifey's saddle-bags telling 
them that they were not likely to meet with their dinner, 
that day, and that she had provided a lunch that they might not 
suffer from hunger. Off the preachers went on along the moun- 
tain pathway during the morning hours and until about noon, 
when Mr, Sheffey's companion who being in front halted, and 
proposed to eat the lunch. Mr. Sheffey informed him that he 
had no lunch, that he had just met two very hungry looking 
dogs to which he had given the lunch. 

If there was a man beyond any other that believed that the 
whiskey traffic was one of the Devil's strongholds it was Mr. 
Sheffey. He assailed this traffic when opportunity offered and 
often in public prayed for its overthrow and destruction. He 
was often appealed to by good people to pray the Lord to re- 
move stillhouses and liquor manufactures. On the upper wa- 
ters of the Bluestone, many years ago, was a whiskey distillery 
operated by a man and his son. Mr. Sheffey stopped in the 
neigliborhood at the home of a good Methodist family. The 
good woman of the house told him of this distillery, and that 
it was ruining and wrecking the lives of many of the young 
men in the neighborhood, and requested him to pray for its re- 
moval, which he promised to do. The lady inquired "how long 
will it be before we may expect our prayers to be answered;" 
"about twelve months," was his reply ; and sure enough within 
the twelve months the. distillery was closed up, and the owner 
and his son in jail on charge of defrauding the government. 

On another occasion he was on Wolf Creek, near Rocky gap, 
when he was informed by the mother of a family with whom he 
was stopping of the existence of a distillery in the neighbor- 
hood that was proving a great evil and requested Mr. Sheffey to 
pray for its removal. Mr. Sheffey then and there went to the 
Lord in prayer, and asked Him to destroy the evil, and if nec- 
essary send fire from Heaven to burn it up, and that very night 
an old dry tree near the distillery took fire, fell on the shanty 
and destroyed the whole thing. The whole neighborhood firm- 

1775-1794 131 

ly believed Sheffey's prayer brought down that fire, which rid 
the neighborhood of the evil. 

As has already been stated, Mr, Sheffey went to the Lord 
about everything he did, even about small things, which some- 
times brought him into ridicule by some classes of people, but 
that did not in the least deter him. He believed that the Lord 
controlled the actions of animals as well as men, and in veri- 
fication and illustration thereof the following story is told by 
a gentlemen living a few miles south of Pearisburg, Virginia. 
Mr. Sheffey stopped at his house over night, and by Mr. Shef- 
fey's direction his horse was turned on pasture. Mr. Sheffey 
having an appointment for the next day, and anxious to get off 
early requested the gentleman to have his horse ready for him. 
The man went out very early to get the horse which he was un- 
able to do, even summoning help, still the horse would not al- 
low himself to be caught, nor would he be driven into the stable 
yard or lot. Finally the man gave up the effort to secure the 
horse, went to the house and informed Mr. Sheffey of the situa- 
tion, and he went out with the man into the field where the 
horse was grazing, and requested the man to wait until he told 
the Lord about it. Down upon his knees he went and told the 
Lord of the inability of the man to bridle the horse and re- 
quested that He put it into the mind of the horse to stand and 
be bridled, and on rising from his knees he said to the man 
"you can now bridle the horse," which he immediately did. 
Many other such things occurred in the history of this man, 
which for want of space cannot here be related ; there is how- 
ever, just one other incident of his life which will be related, as 
it shows that he was a man whose religion was pure and unde- 
filed and near akin to that of our blessed Saviour. Mr. Sheffey's 
hostility and open expression against the liquor traffic and the 
traffickers, often brought down upon him, not only the curses 
and imprecations of these people, but once at least, a pounding 
upon his head. He was preaching in Bland County, and dur- 
ing the service was interrupted by some unthoughted young 
men under the influence of ardent spirits, which led to their se- 

132 New Kiver Settlements 

vere censure and arraignment by the preacher, which so offend- 
ed and enraged them tliat they took position at the outside of 
the church door, and as Mr. Sheffey went out they clubbed and 
beat him severel3\ These people were indicted in the Court of 
Bland County, and Mr. Sheffey summoned as a witness for the 
Commonwealth. He did not appear, and compulsory i)rocess 
was taken against him, and on his appearance in Court he en- 
deavored to avoid testifying. The young men were convicted, 
when Mr. Sheffev with tears in his eves, and a i)raver on his 
lips implored the court to allow them to go unpunished, that 
they knew not what they did; that he had forgiven them, 
that he had asked the Lord to forgive them, and now 
asked the Court to forgive them, which in a measure it 
did. Whatever may be said of this peculiar man and his ec- 
centricities, his like will never be seen again. He died in peace 
with God and man, and all who knew him revere his memory. 



Marriages, by whom celebrated prior to the passage of Toler- 
ation Acts— Real civilization begun — Monroe County cre- 
ated, its boundaries, brief, history of — Formation of Taze- 
well County, its boundaries, brief history of — Formation 
of Giles County, its boundaries, and brief history thereof. 

As has already been noticed, the early preachers who came 
across the Alleghanies, were Dissenters, and not authorized by 
law to celebrate marriages, and therefore all marriages solemn- 
ized by these Ministers were by law illegal, but by subsequent 
acts of the Legislature such marriages were not only legalized, 
but certain acts were passed authorizing a limited number of 
these Dissenters to celebrate the rites of matrimony. 

After the close of the Indian wars in 1794 the country not 
only filled up rapidly, but real civilization began in earnest, 

1795-1886 133 

the people built houses, opened farms and roads, elected offi- 
cers, prepared and carried on civil government without hinder- 
ance or molestation. 

The people living along the New River to the northeast there- 
of and north of the Narrows of said river, in what is now Giles 
County, were inhabitants of Greenbrier County and lived many 
miles from Lewisburg, their county town. They therefore de- 
termined to apply for the creation of a new county, and by 
an act of the Legislature of Virginia passed January 14th, 
1799, the County of Monroe was created out of the territory of 
Greenbrier, with the following boundaries as set forth in the 
said Act, viz: "Beginning where the ridge dividing the east- 
ern from the western waters joins Peter's Mountain, and with 
said eastern ridge to the ridge which divides Howard's and Sec- 
ond Creek, thence with the said ridge westwardly, including 
the waters of Second Creek to the Wagon road at Robert 
Knox's, thence with the said creek to Thomas Nichols' Spring 
branch, thence a straight line to Alderson's ferry landing on 
Greenbrier River, thence down the said river to the mouth of 
Muddy Creek, thence crossing the same to the ridge which di- 
vides the waters of Muddy Creek and GriflSth's run, and with 
the said ridge to Keeney's Knobs and with said Knobs, includ- 
ing the waters flowing into Greenbrier River to New River, and 
up the same to where it breaks through Peter's Mountain, 
thence with said mountain an east course to the beginning." 

From Lewis' History of West Virginia the following infor- 
mation is given concerning the organization of said county. 
"At one mile east of the present town of Union at the house of 
George King on the 21st day of May, 1799, the first County 
Court was held. William Hutchinson, James Alexander, Isaac 
Estill, William Haynes, John Hutchinson, John Gray, John 
Byrnside, William Graham, James Hanley, and William Vaw- 
ter holding commissions from the governor of Virginia, com- 
posed the members of the first court. John Hutchison was ap- 
pointed clerk, and John Woodyard Commonwealth's Attorney. 
Isaac Estill having been by the Governor commissioned as sher- 

134 New River Settlements 

iff, entered into bond as sueli, with James Alexander, William 
Haynes, and John Byrnside as his bondsmen. John Byrnside 
was recommended for appointment as surveyor of lands. John 
Arbuckle was appointed Deputy Sheriff. 

The second day of the term was taken up largely in putting 
the military establishment on a proper footing, whereuj)on 
James Graham was recommended for appointment as Colonel 
for the county; John Hutchinson and John Hanley for Majors; 
and for Captains, Isaac Estill, John Byrnside. James Jones, 
Robert Nickel, William Graham, Samuel Clark, Henry McDan- 
iel, and Watt Farley. For Lieutenants, Nimrod Tackett, John 
Hanley, Jr., George Swope, James Gray, William Maddy, Da- 
vid Graham, Tollison Shumate, and Thomas Wyatt; and for 
Ensigns, Alexander Dunlap, Charles Keenan, James Young, 
James Byrnside. James Miller, James Gwin, James Thompson, 
and John Harvey. 

James Graham was recommended for appointment as Coro- 
ner, and Thomas Lowe, Robert Dunbar, John Cottrell, William 
Dison, George Foster, Enos Halstead, and Joshua Lewis were 
appointed Constables. 

On the 19th day of May, 1800, Honorable Archibald Stew- 
art, Judge of the District composed of the counties of Green- 
brier, Botetourt, Montgomery, Kanawha, and Monroe held the 
first court for the county, at Sweet Springs. John Skinner was 
appointed to prosecute for the Commonwealth, and Samuel 
Dew to discharge the duties of clerk. 

A grand jury was empaneled, composed of William Royal, 
foreman, Dennis Cochran, John Matthews, Samuel Todd, Hugh 
Caperton, Joseph Snodgrass, Isaac Snodgrass, William How- 
ell, John Peck, Joseph Cloyd, (the latter two citizens of Giles 
County,) John Lewis, William Vawter, Jacob Persinger, John 
Byrnside, and James Byrnside. Two indictments found at the 
term, parties tried same terra and acquitted. 

The second term of the court held at the same place on the 
18th day of October, 1800, at which Judge Paul Carrington 

1795-1836 135 

In 1799, the County Court selected the present site Union, 
for the County town on twenty-five acres of land the property 
of James Alexander, and was laid off into lots and streets, and 
the same was subsequently, to wit: January 1800, established 
as a town by the General Assembly, and William Haynes, John 
Gray, John Byrnside, James Hanley, Michael Erskine, John 
Hutchison, and Isaac Estill constituted trustees thereof." 

The territory now embraced in Monroe County was visited by 
white people as early as 1760. John Alderson and William 
Morris visited the county about 1777. Christian Peters, an 
American Soldier, who served in General LaFayette's Corps at 
Yorktown, came to what is now Peterstown in 1783. In the 
year of 1770, came the Manns, Cooks, Millers, Alexanders, 
Nickels, Campbells. Dunsmores, Hokes, Lakes, Calloways, 
Sweeneys, Haynes, Ermines- Grahams, and Hutchinsons, large- 
ly from the Virginia Valley. 

The early history of this people is the same substantially as 
those of the Greenbrier and New River Valleys, which has al- 
ready been given in this volume. 

The military history of the people of Monroe is in a measure 
written in the chapter devoted to that subject in this volume, 
as her citizen soldiers served largely with the New River Val- 
ley men, with the exception of one company, which was led to 
the war by Captain Hugh Snidow Tiffany, who fell in the first 
battle of Manasses. His company belonged to the 27th Vir- 
ginia Regiment of the Stonewall brigade. 

In both civil and military life, Monroe has furnished a num- 
ber of distinguished men, among them Hugh Caperton, An- 
drew Beirne. Allen T. Caperton, A. A. Chapman, John Echols, 
Frank Hereford, John M. Rowan, Judge A. N. Campbell, Rev. 
J. P. Campbell, and others. 

Among her valued citizens, are Campbells, Hansbargers, 
Swopes, Johnsons, Johnstons, Symns, Clarks, Ballards, Flesh- 
mans. Pecks, Aldersons, Nickels, Rowans, Becketts, McClaugh- 
ertys, Osborns, Harveys, Fences, Adairs, Packs, Thrashers, 
Karnes, Spanglers, Shanklins, Vawters, and numerous others. 

136 New River Settlements 

Its population is steady,industrious, and as little crime is com- 
mitted in the county of Monroe as any county in the state. 

Adam Mann, Jacob Mann, and others as early as the year 
1770, built a fort on Indian Creek, some ten miles west from 
the present town of Union. The Cooks, also built a fort on In- 
dian Creek some three miles from its mouth. 

This Maun family was of English origin — from Kent. They 
came at an early day to America, and that branch of the fami- 
ly, the ancestor of the present New River Valley families of 
that name was William, who settled in Augusta in 1778. It is a 
numerous family, some of them attained to prominence in the 
revolutionary, border and civil wars. From Mann MS. it ap- 
pears, that two of this family, Thomas and William, were sol- 
diers on the Ohio at fort Randolph shortly after the battle of 
Point Pleasant, and while there, on the south side of the Ka- 
nawha, appeared one Simon Girty, who gave to Thomas and 
William Mann the sign of distress, and urged them to cross for 
him as he was pursued by the Indians; yielding to his en- 
treaties, they with others crossed the river in a canoe, and as 
they approached the shore a party of Indians in hiding fired 
upon them, killing Thomas Mann, and badly wounding Wil- 
liam, who escaped but died in what is now Fayette County, 
while trying to make his way to Donnally's Fort, in Greenbrier 
(Mann MS.). Of this family are Isaac T. and Edwin Mann, 
prominent and successful business men of Mercer County. Mr. 
James E. Mann of this same family, a most useful, intelligei't 
citizen, and successful financier lived for a number of years in 
the city of Bluefield, where his widow and children still reside. 
Mr. Mann died a few years ago, a highly respected and es- 
teemed citizen. 

The territory of Tazewell County as it formerly and now ex- 
ists, has a history much in common with that of the Counties 
of Monroe, Giles and Mercer. It is not intended in thip, work 
to do more than give a general outline history of this county, 
for to write it in full and that of its people would within itself 
fill a volume. So far as can be ascertained, with anything like 

1795-1836 137 

accuracy, the first white man that put his foot on the soil of 
this county, was the man Castle hunting with the Indians in 
what is now known as the Castle's wood section, now in Russell 
County; and the second white man in the territory referred to 
was the hunter Clinche. These two men traversed ihe Clinch 
Valley section prior to 1749 and from the latter the river 
Clinch took its name, as hereinbefore related. 

The next in order was Doctor Thomas Walker of Albemarle, 
and his companions Ambrose Powell and others, who in 1750, 
traversed the ridge country, a few miles north of the present 
town of Tazewell, passing the site of the present town of Poca- 
hontas, and following the Water Shed dividing the waters of 
Bluestone, Sandy, Guyandotte, and Piney, to the New River 
near where the town of Hinton, in Summers County, is lo- 

According to Summers' History So. W. Va., Christopher 
Gist, agent for the Ohio Company, on his return from the Ken- 
tucky section and the Ohio River, in 1751, came through what is 
now the county of Wise, giving name to a river, Gist's, and a 
station where he camped, called Gist's Station. (1) He also 
passed along the Water Shed above referred to. 

In the year of 1753, James Burke and stepson, Morris Grif- 
fith were in what is now known as Burke's Garden, situated in 
the south-eastern part of this county. Burke was one of the 
Draper's Meadow Settlers, who crossed the Alleghanies in 
1748 and made settlement near the present town of Blacksburg 
in Montgomery County. His adventurous disposition and love 
of the forest led him to the vicinity of the spot called Burke's 
Garden, into which, through the gap since known as Hanshue's. 
he followed the Elk which he had wounded. 

The evidence is not only persuasive, but may be regarded as 
conclusive, that Burke removed with his family from Draper's 
Meadows into this beautiful land in the year of 1754. He had 
cleared out some land, and in the spring of 1755 had planted a 
crop of potatoes which were found in the ground unharvested 

(1). Now, Coburn, in Wise County, Virginia. 

138 New River Settlements 

by Lewis' men in February, 1756. Colonel Preston in his Jour- 
nal, describing Burke's Garden says among other things that 
the soldiers gathered potatoes in the waste plantations; there- 
fore it is certain that in February, 1756, the place was known as 
Burke's Garden, and that there were potatoes found there in 
''Waste Plantations." Again it is true, that neither Burke nor 
his family were at Draper's Meadows on the 8th day of July, 
1755, when the settlers were attacked by the Indians, captured 
or destroyed, as no mention is made of Burke or his family, 
while all others are accounted for, and we see from Preston's 
Journal, that Lewis' men met Burke west of New River in Feb- 
uary. 1756, hence it appears as most likely and no doubt true, 
that Burke for fear of tlie savages left Burke's Garden with his 
family in the fall of 1755, and the tradition that the Indians 
followed him to Sharon Springs is no doubt correct. At any 
rate Burke discovered a magnificent body of most valuable 
land which was appropriated by other people. 

Major Andrew Lewis with about 340 men on his way to the 
Ohio, in February, 1756, passed through the territory of Taze- 
well, camping in Burke's Garden, and on the head waters of 
the Clinch, and from there passed over the eastern and north 
ern branches of that stream near by or through the farm owned 
by the late William G. Mustard, Esq., and thence on to Horse- 
pen Creek of Jacob's Fork of Tug of Sandy. We hear nothing 
from 1756 to 1766 of any white people in the territory of the 
county ; this is accounted for from the fact that the French and 
Indian war was occurring during this period, and in fact did 
not end on the border until the year of 1765, after Johnson's 
Treaty — the result of Bouquet's expedition into Ohio that yeu. 

It appears from Bickley's History of Tazewell, that two men, 
Butler and Carr with others from about Carr's or Kerr's Creek 
in the Rockbridge country, were in this territory about the 
head waters of the Clinch in 1766, engaged in hunting and 
trapping, and that all of said hunting party, except Butler and 
Carr, left on the close of tlie hunting season. 

Butler and Carr erected them a hunter's cabin at the Crab 

1795-1836 139 

Orchard, about three or four miles west of the present Court 
House of Tazewell. In the spring of 1767 they opened up a 
small field and planted a small crop of corn, the seed of which 
they obtained from the Cherokee Indians, and a new supply 
of ammunition of another company of hunters that came out to 
hunt with them. 

The territory of Tazewell, very much like that of Kentucky, 
was a kind of middle ground between the northern and south- 
ern Indian tribes, between whom a war was waging in 17f!>6, 
and which was not finally ended until about the beginning of 

As stated by Bickley, in the early summer of 1768, a band of 
Cherokee warriors camped near the cabin of Butler and Carr; 
they had come to spend the season in hunting around and near 
the Lick. Very soon there appeared a large body of Shawnees, 
men and women. These had long been open and deadly ene- 
mies, and could not long remain near each other on terms of 
peace. The Shawnees ordered the Cherokees to evacuate' and 
to look for other hunting ground. This orc'ior, Ihe latter re- 
fused to obey, and took position on the top of Rich Mountain, 
which they fortified with rude breastworks. The Shawnees at- 
tacked that evening, and continued the battle on the next day; 
Butler and Carr furnishing the Cherokees with ammunition. 
The Shawnees were forced to retire, retreating to the head of 
what is now known as Abb's Valley, and there on the farm 
owned by the late Jonathan Smith, erected a rude stone fort, 
which stood until a few years ago. The place where they built 
this fort is the gateway to the head of the Tug fork of Sandy; 
the latter one of the highway* when on their way out and re- 
turn from incursions into the white settlements along the up- 
per waters of the Clinch and the Bluestone. The dead left on 
the battlefield were buried in one common grave, and shortly 
the Cherokees departed for their homes in the south, leaving 
Butler and Carr lords of all tliey surveyed. 

Peace and quiet being restored, Butler and Carr separated, 
the latter making settlements on the Clinch about two milea 

140 New Kiveu Settlemexts 

east of the present county town, while Butler seems to have re- 
moved near the Elk Lick. IMore hunters coming out, and return- 
ing witii glowing descriptions of the country, induced others 
desiring to make permanent settlements in this new wilderness 
country, to emigrate hither. 

In the spring of 1771 came Thomas, James and Jerry Witten 
(1) and John Greenup, the former from the Fredericktown sec- 
tion of Maryland, Thomas settled at the Crab Orchard, pur- 
chasing Butler's claim, whatever that was, but there were none 
to dispute it. 

James Witten and John Greenup settled on the Clinch near 
where Pisgah Church now stands, and Jerry Witten settled on 
Plum Creek. On the authority of James R. Witten it is stated 
that a son of this John Greenup became governor of Kentucky. 

In this same year of 1771 Absalom Looney, from Looney's 
Creek in the Virginia Valley, made his way into the section of 
this county now known as Abb's Valley, where he hunted and 
trapped for three or four years, having a cave near what is now 
Moore's Memorial Church, as his hiding place and refuge from 
the savages and wild beasts. 

Looney, on returning to Looney's Creek, met Captain James 
Moore, and so impressed him by his description of this wonder- 
ful valley which he had discovered as to induce Moore to make 
a journey to see it. The statement that Captain James Moore 
settled in Abb's Valley in 1772 is incorrect, for more reasons 
than one. Moore had gone from the valley to the Alamance in 
North Carolina, to join his countrymen (the Scots), in their 
struggle against the tyranny of Governor Tyron, and having 
united with the Regulators, was in the battle of the Alamance 
fought on the lOth day of May, 1771, in which the Regulators 
were defeated and scattered by the forces of Governor Tyron. 
Captain ^loore returned to his home on Moore's Creek in the 
Virginia Valley, now in Rockbridge County, where he remained 

(1). The Wittens first halted at a large spring on Walker's Creek, 
near where the late William B. Allen resided, in what is now Giles 
County, where they remained for one year before moving to the Clinch. 

1795-1836 141 

until 1775, when he raised a company of valley men, and march- 
ed at their head, joining General Washington's army then en- 
gaged in the seige of Boston. It was at the head of this com- 
pany of volunteers that he won his iitle of captain, lie and iiis 
men had entered the service for one year, upon the expiration 
of which they returned to their homes. Their return was in 
1776, and there is no evidence to be found that Captain Moore 
visited the territory of Tazewell prior to 1776, but in the fall of 
that year he came to spy out the land and prepared for the re- 
moval of his family, which took place the next year, together 
with the family of his brother-in-law Poague. 

Prior to the year of 1776 one Peter Wright, an old hunter, 
had traversed the valley known since his day as Wright's Val- 
ley, which no doubt led him into the present territory of Taze- 
well County. 

In the year of 1772 Mathias Harman, and his brothers Jacob 
and Henry, settled at Carr's on the Clinch, John Craven in the 
Cove, Joseph Martin, John Henry, and James King in Thomp- 
son's Valley, and John Bradshaw in the valley two miles west 
of the present county town. The Harmans came from North 

In 1772 William Wynn, John Taylor and Jesse Evans settled 
on the upper Clinch waters, and Thomas Marshall, Benjamine 
Joslin, James Ogleton, Peter Harman and Samuel Ferguson on 
the upper Bluestone, William Butler on the south branch of the 
north fork of Clinch above Wynn's. William Webb about three 
miles east of the present Court House, Elisha Clary near But- 
ler, John Ridgel on the Clear fork of Wolf Creek, Reece Bowen 
at Maiden Spring, David Ward in the Cove, and William Gar- 
retson at the foot of Morris' Knob. 

Of the people who came in 1772 Thomas Maxwell, Samuel 
Ferguson and the Peerys, who were in the battle of the Ala- 
mance, came from the Virginia Valley, Reece Bowen from Bote- 
tourt, near where Roanoke city now stands. He was from west- 
ern Maryland, William Garretson from Culpepper county, from 

142 New River Settlements 

which the Wheatleys came about the same time, settling near 
the spot where Captain C. A. Fudge now resides. 

Thomas, John and William Peery settled where the present 
town of Tazewell is now located, and John Peery, jr. at the fork 
of Clinch one and one half miles east of the present county site. 
In the meantime a number of settlers, among them the Scaggs, 
Richard Peimberton, Johnson, JRoark, and jothers settled In Bap- 
tist Valley, and Thomas Mastin, William Patterson, and John 
Deskins farther west in the same valley, Richard Oney and Oba- 
diah Paine in what is now known as Deskin's Valley. 

Thomas Ingles, son of Captain William Ingles of Draper's 
Meadows, settled in 1778, in what is now known as W^right's 
Valley at a spring near the residence of the late Captain Ru- 
fus A. Hale, about two miles west of the present city of Blue- 
field, and a few hundred yards north of the track of the Nor- 
folk & Western Railway. He remained here only about two 
years, when finding himself too near the Indian trail which led 
up the Beaver Pond Creek to Bailey's gap in East River Moun- 
tain, he removed to Burke's Garden, and occupied a tract of 
land which had been surveyed by his father, until 1782, when 
his family was captured, and in part destroyed by the Indians. 
At this date Ingles and a man by the name of Hicks were the 
only residents in Burke's Garden. 

In the meantime, that is between the date of the commence- 
ment of the settlements by the white people within what is now 
the territory of Tazewell and the breaking up of the Ingles fam- 
ily in 1782, Dunmore's war had broken out, (177-1), which in 
a measure halted emigration into the territory. 

In the year of 1773, in September, Daniel Boone and his 
brother. Squire, with their familes and a number of others, had 
left the Yadkin in North Carolina and started for Kentucky. 
The party with Boone had reached Powell's Valley, when 
needing provisions, Boone's son, with a party, had gone to the 
house of William Russell, in Castle's woods in search of food, 
and on its return on the second day after, and before overtak- 
ing the main party, were attacked by a band of Indians and 

1795-1836 143 

destroyed. This caused Boone and his party to halt and re- 
tire to the neighborhood of William Russell, in Castle's woods, 
where a part of his company wintered. Finding, in the spring 
of 1774, that the Indians were on the war path, and that Gov- 
ernor DunmQore had ordered the raising of an army to punish 
the savages; one wing, the northern, he proposed to command, 
and the other, the southern, to be commanded by Brigadier 
General Andrew Lewis, who was ordered to rendezvous his 
troops at Camp Union, now Lewisburg, in Greenbrier County ; 
and that call had been made upon the Fincastle men (this 
territory was then in Fincastle County,) Captain William 
Russell gathered the men of his company, and in August 
marched up the Clinch and down the East River to join his regi- 
ment, commanded by Colonel William Christian, then on the 
New River, and on its way to unite with General Lewis. To 
Russell's company belonged Reece Bowen and Moses Bowen, 
who marched with their company to Point Pleasant — Moses 
Bowen dying on the trip from smallpox. 

Daniel Boone was left in command of Russell's Fort, that of 
Bowen's, and of the Frontier, which he with his men faithful- 
ly guarded in the absence of Russell's men. 

Roving bands of Indians entered the Castle's woods and Maid- 
en Spring neighborhoods during the absence of Russell and 
his men. The neighboring women and children had gathered 
in the forts for protection. 

It was the opening of Dunmore's war that led the white 
people of this and adjacent sections to establish forts and 
blockhouses for protection. In Tazewell there was a fort 
erected by the Wynns on Wynn's Branch, at Crab Orchard by 
Thomas Witten, and one at Maiden Springs by Reece Bowen, 
and a little later, one at head of Beaver Pond by Bailey's and 
Davidson's, and later as stated by Bickley, between the years 
of 1780 and 1794, the Virginia Government occasionally kept 
a few companies of men along the border, who occupied these 
forts, and in the absence of such armed bodies of men, sent out 
by the state, the men within the territory threatened, gath- 

144 New Kiver Settlements 

ered in these places of refuge. The names of several of these 
people have been preserved, among them : 

James Bailey Samuel Lusk 

John liaily Eobert Lesley 

Joseph Belcher James Martin 

Eobert Belcher John Maxwell 

Thomas Brewster James Peery 

Edward Burgess John Pruett 

Chrisopher Caffin Archibald Thompson 

James Conley John Ward 

John Crockett William Ward 

John Evans James Witten 

Joseph Gilbert Michael Wright 

Absalom Godfrey Oliver Wynn 

William Hall Hezekiah Wright 
David Lusk 

Robert Trigg was the military commandant while the terri- 
tory of what is now Tazewell was within the County of Mont- 
gomery, and Major Robert Crockett after the territory was 
erected into the county Wythe. 

The Indian depredations began in the territory of what is 
now the county of Tazewell, in the year of 1776, In the month 
of May of that year they destroyed John Henry, his wife and 
six children in Thompson's Valley, and carried one litte boy 
away a prisoner. In the same year they captured John Evans. 

In the year 1779 the family of Jesse Evans was attacked 
by eight or ten Indians, four of his children were killed, his 
wife with one child escaping to Major Taylor's. 

In the latter part of the summer and early fall of 1780. the 
British army under Lord Cornwallis was advancing north- 
ward through the Carolinas. One division thereof, under Col- 
onel Patrick Ferguson, had reached Piedmont, North Carolina. 
Ferguson had sent threats t o the Backwater men that if they 
did not come over and take the oath of allegiance to his Sover- 
eign he would cross into their country and lay it waste with 

1795-1836 145 

fire and sword. Evan Shelby and John Sevier pUmned an 
attack upon Ferguson's troops, calling on Colonel Campbell of 
Washington County, Virginia, for assistance. Camp- 
bell called out the military force of his county, including the 
company of William Bowen of the Clinch settlements, in 
which company Reece Bowen, of Maiden Spring and James 
Moore of Abb's Valley were Lieutenants. Captain William 
Bowen at the date of the call being sick with fever, the com- 
mand of the company devolved on Lieutenant Reece Bowen, 
who led it to the battle of King's Mountain, fought on October 
7th, 1780. 

At the date of the call for and march of Bowen's company 
from the Clinch, the western boundary line of Montgomery 
County reached to Morris' Knob and Roark's Gap, and there- 
fore a part of the men who marched with Bowen from the up- 
per Clinch and Bluestone lived in Montgomery County, and 
were not within the military district of Colonel Campbell, but 
within that of Colonel William Preston, of Montgomery 
Among the number of those who went from Montgomery terri- 
tory with Bowen, were James Moore, Samuel Ferguson, Henry 
Henninger, Thomas Peery, (the Distiller) Thomas Peery (the 
Blacksmith) William Peery and John Peery, the latter wound- 
ed a number of times, but recovering, and one of the Thomas 
Peerys killed, together with Henry Henninger and Reece Bow- 

No attempt will be made here to describe the march to King's 
Mountain nor the battle and return home of the men, as the 
reader is referred to a very full and accurate account thereof 
given by Draper in his "King's Mountain and its Heroes." 

In the month of April, 1782, the family of Thomas Ingles, in 
Burke's Garden, was attacked by Indians and all who were at 
the house captured. They were pursued by Thomas Ingles and 
Captain James Maxwell, and a party of men, who overtook 
them in a gap of Tug ridge, since known as Maxwell's Gap 
from the circumstance that Captain Maxwell was there killed. 

146 New River Settlements 

On the opening of the fight the Indians attempted to kill their 
prisoners, and succeeded in tomahawking Mrs. Ingles, her lit- 
tle son AVilliam, and little daughter Mary, scalping the two 
latter from which the little boy soon died, the little girl a few 
days later, but Mrs. Ingles recovered. The Harraan Ms. shows 
that Captain Henry Harman was one of the pursuing party. 

Another part of this marauding band at the same time kill- 
ed and scalped two daughters of Captain John Maxwell, and 
took nine prisoners, and also killed and scalped near the 
Clinch two sons of Captain Robert Moffett. 

A part of this same band of Indians visited the home of 
James Poague, a brother-in-law of Captain James Moore, and 
who had come to Abb's Valley with him in 1777, and had set- 
tled and opened up some land on the farm recently known as 
that of Captain John W. Taylor. These Indians attempted to 
enter Mr. Poague's house in the night time but finding some 
three or four men in the house they left without doing any 
harm to Mr. Poague's family, but the next morning, near 
Poague's house they killed a young man by the name of Rich- 
ards, who had been working for Captain Moore. 

In 1783 Joseph Ray, living on Indian Creek, with a part of 
his family, together with a man by the name of Samuel 
Hughes, who happened at Ray's house at the time, were butch- 
ered by the Indians. 

Mr. Poague became so much alarmed for fear of the Indians 
that very shortly after their visit to his house on a night in 
April, 1872, and hereinbefore referred to, he left the settlement, 
and went back into civilization, and two years after the occur- 
rence at Poague's viz : in 1784, James, the son of Captain James 
Moore, was captured on this Taylor farm by Indians, and car- 
ried into captivity where he remained about five years. 

In the year of 1785 Robert Barnes, born in Ireland, (1) and 
coming to America about 1782, first halting in the valley of 
Virginia, then came on to the Cove in what is now Tazewell 
County, Virginia. 

(1) So stated by Capt. D. B. Baldwin. 

1795-1836 147 

From this man Robert Barnes, has descended all the people 
of that name now in the Tazewell section, and who are among 
the most respectable people to be found there or elsewhere. 

On April 11th, 1786, two men one Dials and Benjamin 

Thomas, were scalped by the Indians on the upper waters of 
the Clinch; Dials died in a few hours, Thomas lived several 

In 1785 an Act was passed by the General Assembly of Vir- 
ginia, to take effect 1786, creating the County of Russell out 
of the territory of Washington County. The eastern bound- 
ary line of Russell to be that of the western line of Montgom- 
ery County. 

Before describing the destruction of the family of Captain 
James Moore in Abb's Valley, reference will be made to the 
date of the first coming of Captain Moore to the valley refer- 
red to. 

William Taylor Moore, who has already been mentioned as 
the grandson of Captain Moore, stated to the author that 
Looney so accurately described the route from the Virginia 
Valley to Abb's Valley that his grandfather had no difficulty 
in traversing it, and that he described the route after leaving 
the New River to be up a large Creek, (Walker's Creek), to the 
mouth of its main north branch, (Kimberling), and thence up 
the same to its source, and through a gap, and down to a 
stream, to and through another gap through which said 
stream passed, and down the same to the mouth of a stream 
coming in from the north, (Laurel Creek,) and up the same 
and through a low gap of a high mountain to the north, and 
thence down the streams flowing west — northwest — to where 
the waters flowed over a very high rock, now called Falls Mills, 
where he would strike a Buffalo path, following which would 
lead him into the valley. (1) 

(1). Shortly after Captain Moore's settlement in the Valley a buf- 
falo bull came up to his home with the milch cows, and the Captain 
killed the animal. 

148 New River Settlements 

On July 14th, 1786, Captain James Moore and his family, 
were attacked bv a band of forty Shawnee Indians, and the 
Captain and a part of his family killed, and part captured and 
carried away. 

In 1788 in the month of August, a man by the name of Pem- 
berton, who lived in Baptist Valley, about five miles from 
the present County site of Tazewell, was attacked by a party 
of marauding Indians, but succeeded in beating them off, and 
making safe retreat to a neighbor's house. 

As has already been related. Captain Henry Harman and 
two of his sons, George and Matthias, on a hunting expedi- 
tion on Tug had, on the 12th day of November, 1788, a severe 
battle with seven or eight Indians, part of whom they killed 
and wounded, tlie remainder retreated. This fight took place 
on the bank of the Tug a short distance below the residence 
of the late Mr. Henry T. Peery. Captain Harman received 
several wounds from arrows ehot into him by the Indians. 

In the month of March, 1789, a party of Indians came up 
the Dry Fork of the Sandy, and about the mouth of Dick's 
Creek were caught in a snow storm, and took shelter under a 
large shelving rock opposite the mouth of the above mention- 
ed creek, and while hiding there and sheltering from the 
storm, William Wheatley of Baptist Valley, in search of a 
lost dog was killed by these Indians, who mutilated his body 
in a most horrible manner. They then proceeded to the gap 
at the head of Dry Fork and destroyed the wife and children 
of James Koark. They were pursued by the whites but suc- 
ceeded in making good their escape. 

On the night of October the first, 1789, a body of Indians 
visited the house of Thomas Wiley, at what is now known as 
the Dill's farm, a little below the mouth of Cove Creek of 
Clear fork of Wolf Creek, and captured and carried away his 
wife, Mrs. Virginia Wiley, and her four little children whom 
they killed on their way up Cove Creek. Mrs. Wiley was car- 

1795-1836 149 

ried away a prisoner to tlieir towns where she remained until 
September, 1792, escaping with Samuel Lusk. 

In tlie year of 1790 the county of Wythe was created out 
of the territory of Montgomery. The western line of Wythe 
by the Act of Creation, was the same as between Montgomery 
and Russell Counties; that is, from the west side of Morris 
Knob to Roark's gap and to the head waters of the Sandy. 
The eastern line running from Reed Island Creek to the Kan- 
awha line, passing about one half mile west of the present 
town of Princetou, in Mercer County. In April, 1791, the wife 
and children of Andrew Davidson, with two bound children 
were captured by Indians at their home on the head wa- 
ters of East River, near the present city of Bluefield, then in 
Wythe County. Mrs. Davidson was not recovered by her hus- 
band until after Wayne's Victory in August, 1794. 

In the same year of 1791, Daniel Harman on a hunting expe- 
dition on the upper Clinch waters was killed by Indians. 

In the month of July, 1792, a band of Indians from the Ohio 
section entered the upper Clinch and Bluestone settlements, 
and stole horses. Major Robert Crockett, the military com- 
mandant of Wythe County, gathered a force of men and fol- 
lowed the marauders. His scouts or spies, Joseph Gilbert and 
Samuel Lusk, were sent in advance to a lick on a creek flowing 
into the Cuyandotte to kill some game for food for the men. 
They reached the lick on the 24th day of July, killed a deer and 
Avounded an Elk, following the latter some distance and fail- 
ing to over take it they returned to the lick for the deer, and 
were suddenly attacked by the Indians, who were in hiding 
near by, and Gilbert killed, Lusk wounded and captured. Ma- 
jor Crockett's men failed to overtake them. In September of 
the same year, Lusk in company with Mrs. Virginia Wiley, 
escaped from the Indian town at Chillicothe, on the Scioto, and 
made his way home. 

On the 8th day of March, 1793, a body of twelve Indians, 
and a white man by the name of Rice, murdered John Goolman 
Davidson, usually called John or Cooper Davidson, at the 

150 New River Settlements 

mouth of a small branch of Laurel Creek of clear fork of Wolf 
Creek, and at the southern base of East River Mountain at a 
point where the path leaving Laurel passes through Bailey's 
Gap. This party was pursued by Major Crockett and a com- 
pany of men, who overtook them at the Island of the Guyan- 
dotte River, where now stands Logan Court House. A skirm- 
ish followed in which one Indian was killed, the rest fled leav- 
ing their stolen horses and their breakfast, the latter the whites 
devoured, and among the recaptured horses was recognized 
that of Mr. Davidson, which led on the return of the party to a 
search of Mr, Davidson, whose dead nude body they found un- 
der the roots of a beech tree on the bank of Laurel Creek. 

This Indian incursion was the last ever made into the ter- 
ritory in what is now Tazewell County. The next year, 1794, 
General Wayne defeated the United Indian tribes at Fallen 
Timbers in Ohio, and this gave peace to the border, along 
which had been committed by the savages horrible barbarities 
for almost forty years. (1) 

With a full establishment of peace and quiet on the border 
new people came rapidly into the country, and settlements be- 
gan throughout the whole Clinch Valley section and on to the 

In the winter of 1799 a bill was introduced into the General 
Assembly of Virginia, by Mr. Cottrell, the representative from 
Russell County, providing for the creation of a new county out 
of the territory of Wythe and Russell. The bill of Mr. Cottrell 
as stated by IJickley, met with formidable opposition from Mr. 
Tazewell, the representative from the county of Norfolk. Mr. 
Cottrell inserted in the bill Tazewell as the name of his pro- 
posed new county, which not only silenced the member from 
Norfolk, but secured his support for the bill. 

The following are the boundary lines of the county of Taze- 

(1) A family by the name of Sliiss was destroyed by Indians near 
what is now known as Sharon Springs, but the date and circumstances 
are unknown. 

1795-1836 151 

well as set forth in the Act of its creation December 19th, 1799 


viz: "Beginning on the Kanawha line, which divides Mont- 
gomery and Wythe Counties, thence to where said line crosses 
the top of Brushy Mountain, thence along the top of said 
mountain to its junction with Garden Mountain, thence along 
the top of the said mountain to the Clinch Mountain, thence 
along the top of said mountain to the mouth of Cove Creek, a 
branch of the Maiden Spring Fork of Clinch River, thence a 
strait line to Mann's Gap in Kent's Ridge, thence north 45 
west to the line which divides Kentucky from that of Virginia, 
thence along said line to the Kanawha line, and with said line 
to the place of beginning." On Feb. 8rd, 1835, the Legislature 
altered the line dividing the Counties of Russell and Taze- 
well, by running from Mann's gap in Kent's ridge north 45 deg. 
45 minutes west the distance of 974 poles. In 1806 a portion 
of Tazewell was cut off into the county of Giles, and in 
1837 another portion of the territory of Tazewell was stricken 
off into Mercer, and in 1858 the Counties of Buchanan and Mc- 
Dowell were created out of Tazewell territory, and in 1861 
Tazewell also lost part of her territory by the formation of 
Bland countv. 

The first court held for the county of Tazewell was at the 
house of Colonel John B. George, in the month of May, 1800. 

John Ward was elected clerk, and Maxwell made 

sheriff. The second court was held in June of the same year 
at the house of Harvey G. Peery, in which month Judge Brock- 
enborough held the first Superior Court of Law. He was suc- 
ceeded by Judge Peter Johnston. 

James Thompson was the first Commonwealth's Attorney 
for the county. 

Bickley in his history of Tazewell, gives the following as the 
names of the citizens of the county, who were in the battle of 
the Alamance and in the American Revolution, viz : 


New River Settlements 

At the Alamance 


James Cartmell 
James Moore 
William Peery 
Tliomas Peery 
John Peerv 

In the Revolution 

Reece Bowen 
Low Bowen 
Thomas Harrison (2) 
John Lasley 
Archer Maloney 
Neal McGuire 
James Moore 
Solomon Stratton 
Isham Thomlinson 

And the following as soldiers in the war of 1812 viz : 

William Asbury 
Williams Barnes 
George Barnheart 
Isaac Bostic 
James Belcher 
Peter Gose 
Col. Henry Bowen 
James Brooks 
John Davidson 
Jeremiah Early 
Pleasant FrankJin 
William Greene 
James Higginbotham 
William Higginbothanj 
Isaac King 
David Lu-sk 
Capt. Thomas Peery 

Jonathan Peery 
David Robertson 
Matliew Stevenson 
William Smith 
Daniel Tabor 
Reece B. Thompson 
Henry B, Thompson 
Charles Vandyke 
John Vandyke 
Joseph Walls 
Alexander Ward 
Hugh Wilson 
William Witten 
Peter E. Wynne 
Samuel Wynne 
Israel Young 
Nathaniel Young 

From 1800, the date of the formation of the county, to the 
beginning of the year of 1861, this county had within its bor- 
ders as pure a type of Americanism as any county within the 

(2). Thomas Harrison came from Birmingham, England, and was 
the son of a cutler. 

1795-1836 153 

Commonwealtb. There were few, if any, of what might be 
deemed foreigners, that is, those who came direct from foreign 

In politics this people was so thoroughly democratic that 
in the two presidential contests, 1828-1832, between Jackson 
and Clay, the latter in the first contest received in the county 
but one vote, and the second two votes. This solid democratic 
wall was shaken but once from 1800 to 1861, and that was 
in the contest for the State Senate in 1857, between Nathaniel 
Harrison, Democrat, and Napoleon B. French, Whig, the lat- 
ter succeeding in reducing the democratic majority largely in 
this county, which resulted in the defeat of Mr. Harrison in 
the district. 

The bitter fight and exciting contest for Congress in 1848, 
between Colonel John B. George and Fayette McMullen, both 
Democrats, in which the latter won by over 2,000 majority, is 
still remembered among the older people of the county. 

The contests for the Circuit Judgeship between George W. 
Hopkins and Joseph Stras, and again between Samuel V. 
Fulkerson and Mr. Stras were notable. 

The people of this county held but few slaves, the first of 
these were brought into the county by James Witten, about 
1771, and the next by a man by the name of Hicks and 
Thomas Ingles in about the year of 1780. 

When the civil war period approached it found the people 
of this county as thoroughly united for the south, and the up- 
holding and vindication of its constitutional rights as the peo- 
ple of any county Avithin the Coumionwealth. In the elec- 
tion for delegates to the Constitutional Convention of 1861, 
two of its most distinguished citizens — William P. Cecil and 
Samuel L. Graham — were elected. Both these men were above 
the average, and imbued with strong convictions in favor of 
resistance to further Federal aggression, and in favor of Se- 
cession if that step was felt to be absolutely necessary for the 
protection of the rights of the people of Virginia. These gen- 
tlemen voted for the Ordinance of Secession, came home, buck- 

154 New River Settlements 

led on their armor, and went forth to do battle for their 
cause and country. The people of this county entered upon 
the war with zeal and earnestness, organizing and sending to 
the war above twenty companies. There was as little disloy- 
alty to the south and her cause among the people of Tazewell 
as in any county in the State, and when the war had ended 
her people were less annoyed with scalawags and carpetbag- 
gers than the people of any county west of the Alleghanies, 
After the close of the war and up to the agitation of the State 
debt question, the people still adhered to Democracy. This 
debt question divided them, and a large number of the most 
prominent, respectable and influential people of the county 
fell in with the Readjuster Movement, which finally landed 
them in the Republican party; since which time the county 
has been overwhelmingly Republican. 

This county is a little Commonwealth within itself, having 
within its borders, the most valuable agricultural, grazing and 
mineral lands to be found in this region of Virginia. Its peo- 
ple are among the most cultivated, lawabiding, and best in the 
world. Its lawyers among the most distinguished in the 
State; among the number may be mentioned Honorable Sam- 
uel C. Graham, Major R. R. Henry, J. W. Chapman, A. P. Gil- 
lespie, Samuel D. May, J. H. Stuart, S. M. B. CouHng, H. C. 
Alderson, J. N. Harman, Barnes Gillespie' E. L. Greever, 
Thompson Crockett Bowen. 

There has been less change in the character of the rural pop- 
ulation of this county, than that of most any adjoining coun- 
ty. The building of railroads and the development of mines 
have had but little apparent efifect upon the character of the 
population. These people are largely the descendants of the 
Wittens, Moores, Maxwells, Bowens, Barnes, Gillespies, Gra- 
hams, Crocket ts, Peerys. Georges, Wards, Shannons, Harris- 
ons, Greever, Meeks, Higginbothams, Deskins, Thompsons, Da- 
vidsons, Wynns, Cecils, Spotts, Taylors, and Harmans, the 
most of whom were among the first settlers of the country. 
Matters connected with the Courts of this county, the names 

1795-1836 155 

of the judges and members of the House of Delegates, together 
with a list of the military organizations, or at least the names 
thereof, that entered the Confederate service will be found in 
the appendix to this volume; but before closing it will prob- 
ably not be out of place to relate an anecdote given to the au- 
thor by the late Major Rufus Brittain. Honorable Benjamin 
Estill, long the respected, honored judge of the Circuit Court 
of Tazewell, was a very grave and dignified gentleman, and was 
held in high respect by the bar and people. In the early years 
of his administration, in the trial of a case before him, there 
came a witness from lower Sandy country, who for the first 
time in his life was at his county town and his county Court 
House, and who had never testified as a witness in a court of 
justice. He was illiterate and meanly dressed. Having given 
his evidence and when he was about to leave the stand, the 
judge, apparently not impressed with the truthfulness 
of his story, leaned forward, and in a very quiet but earnest 
manner, said, "Mr. Witness have you told the truth, the whole 
truth, and nothing but the truth?" The witness looking 
straight into the face of the Judge replied, "Well, Mr. Jedge, I 
think I have and a little the rise." 

Prior to the formation of Giles County, in 1806, the people 
inhabiting the New River settlements and westward beyond 
in Montgomery County, when compelled to attend the court, 
had to travel many miles through the wilderness to reach their 
county Court House at Christiansburg. By the creation of 
Giles County, out of the territory of the counties of Mont- 
gomery, Monroe and Tazewell, the people along the lower New 
River settlements, and on the waters of the Bluestone, Guyan- 
dotte, and the head waters of the Coal Rivers were brought 
nearer to their County Court House. In January, 1806, the 
County of Giles (1.) was created with the following boundary 
lines described in the Act, viz : "Beginning at the end of Gau- 
ley Mountain on New River where the counties of Greenbrier 
and Kanawha intersect; thence, up the river with the Green- 

■ (1) Named for Hon. Wm. B. Giles. 

156 New Kiver Settlements 

brier and Montgomery County Line to the upper end of Pine's 
Plantation ; thence, a straight line to the mouth of Rich Creek, 
thence with the Montgomery and Monroe line to the intersec- 
tion of Botetourt County line, and with the line of Mongomery 
and Botetourt to the top of Gap mountain, thence along the 
top of said mountain to New River, crossing the same to the 
end of Walker's Creek ^Mountain, thence along the top of said 
mountain to the intersection of Wythe County line, thence 
northwestward with said line to the intersection of Tazewell 
County line, and with Tazewell and Montgomery County line 
to the top of Wolf Creek Mountain to a path leading from 
Round Bottom to Harman's Mill about three miles be- 
low the mouth of the Clear fork of Wolf Creek, thence a 
straight line to tlie mouth of Militon's Fork, thence a direct 
line to the head of Crane Creek to the top of Flat Top Moun- 
tain, thence a direct line to the three forks of the Guyandotte, 
thence down said river until it intersects the Kanawha Coun- 
ty line, thence with said line to the beginning." 

There have been since the creation of the county of Giles 
four changes in the boundary lines thereof. The line between 
Giles and Monroe was altered in 1830, by running from a point 
on Peter's Mountain, opposite the Grey Sulpher Springs, down 
Rich Creek near Peterstowu and to Wiley's Falls, taking from 
Monroe and adding to Giles this strip of territory. In 1841, 
by adding a small strip from the county of Mercer by running 
from Touey's Mill dam to Wiley's Falls. Again in 1851, on 
the formation of the county of Craig, by cutting off to that 
counts' a strip of the territory of Giles and, later in 1858, an- 
other strip to Craig ; and likewise in 18G1, by the formation of 
Bland County, Giles lost a very considerable strip of her ter- 

The territory embraced in the now county of Giles is very 
mountainous, and of the most rugged character, covering at 
the period of its formation the New River Valley for a dis- 
tance of over one hundred miles in length with a mean width 
of about thirtv miles, embracing not onlv waters which flow 

1795-1836 157 

into the New River proper, but also the head waters of the 
Giiyandotte, which flows into the Ohio, and the headwaters of 
the Coal River, which flows into the Kanawha. The names of 
the streams in the then territory of the county and flowing in- 
to New River are as follows : Spruce Run, Sinking Creek, Doe 
Creek, Big Stony Creek, Little Stony Creek, and Rich Creek 
on the northeast side- of the river, and Walker's Creek, Wolf 
Creek, East River, Brush Creek, Bluestone, Piney, Big and 
Little Coal Rivers, and some of the branches of the Guyan- 
dotte on the west and northwest side of the river. The moun- 
tain ranges — Walker's Mountain, Angel's Rest, Great Flat 
Top, Guyandotte, Peter's Mountain, East River Mountain, 
Wolf Creek Mountain, Butt Mountain, Brush Mountain, and 
Salt Pond Mountain. 

Pursuant to the act creating the County of Giles, the first 
court was held on the 13tli day of May, 1806, in a house adja- 
cent to the dwelling house of Captain George Pearis (1) on 
New River, near where Pearisburg station is now situated. The 
building in which the first court was held remained standing 
until two or three years ago, when it was destroyed by fire. 

The Governor of the Commonwealth, William H. Cabell, had 
issued commissions to the following named gentlemen as Jus- 
tices of the Peace of the new County, viz : George Pearis, 
Thomas Shannon, Christian Snidow, David French, David 
Johnston, (2) Edward McDonald, Isaac Chapman, John Kirk, 
John Peck, Christopher Champ, John Burke, and James Bane. 
Thomas Shannon and Christian Snidow, the second and third 
named persons in the commission, administered the oath to 
George Pearis the first named, and he then administered it to 
the others. David Johnston produced a commission from the 
Governor of the Commonwealth as Sheriff of the new county, 
and qualified as such with Christian Snidow and Isaac Chap- 

(1) The first settler where Pearisburg station is now situated and 
the first merchant in what is now Giles County. 

(2). David and Andrew Johnston were the first merchants and 
opened the first tannery: Dr. John H. Rutter, the first resident phy- 
sician; W. C. Charlton, first tailor. 

158 New River Settlements 

man as his sureties, giving bond in the penalty of $7,000, and 
James Hoge qualified as his Deputy. David French was elect- 
ed clerk, and at his request the court apointed John Mc- 
Taylor as his deputy. Captain George Pearis was elected pre- 
siding Justice, and also commissioner of the revenue. Philip 
Lybrook was appointed county surveyor, and afterwards gave 
bond in the penalty of $3,000 with John Lybrook and David 
French as his sureties, 

Henley Chapman produced a license authorizing him to 
practice law in the courts of the Commonwealth, and on his 
motion was admitted to practice in the courts of the County. 
The second term of the court convened on the 10th day of June, 
1806, at which term tlie first Grand Jury for the county was 
impaneled and was composed of the following named gentle- 
men: William Smith, foreman, Matthew French, John Peters, 
Charles Walker, Joseph Hare, Thomas Clyburn, Adam John- 
ston, William Wilburn, William Brown, John Chapman, Wil- 
liam Tracy, David Summers, William Law, John Sartin, Ed- 
ward Hale and Robert Clendenin. 

Two indictments were found by the jury at this term, to 
wit: one against Peter Dingess for retailing spiritual liquors, 
and one against William Stowers, for entering the whiskey 
house of John Toney without leave and making use of his 
liquors. George Pearis and John Toney were each granted a 
license to keep an Ordinary at their respective houses, they 
having given the required bonds. Thomas Lewis, an attorney- 
at-law, and who was afterwards, in 1816, near Christianburg, 
Va., killed in a duel with McHenry, was admitted to practice 
in the courts of the County. The following named persons were 
appointed constables for said County, viz: John Hale, Charles 
Stuart, Henry Clay, Jacob McPherson, Edward Lewis, Reu- 
ben Johnston, Noah Mullet and Delaney Sweeney, and Chris- 
tian Snidow and Isaac Chapman were recommended to the 
governor as being qualified to discharge the duties of the of- 
fice of Coroner. 

It was ordered that the next term of the court be held in 

1795-1836 159 

the house to be erected by James Aldridge on one of the pub- 
lic lots. 

Captain George Pearis donated fifty three acres of land to 
the County on which to erect its public buildings, and a town 
was established on this land, called Pearisburg in honor of 
Captain Pearis. Andrew Johnston agreeing to survey and 
lay off the town lots and public square for the consideration 
of 131.00, was appointed to do so. The first petit jury impan- 
eled in the County consisted of Patrick Napier, John Peters, 
Joseph Jackson, Isaac Jackson, William Clay, Colby Stowers, 
William Pepper, Nimrod Smith, Henry Dillion, Charles Clay, 
Philip Peters, and Larkin Stowers. The second Grand Jury 
consisted of the following named persons, viz : Thomas Burke, 
foreman, John Peters Theodore Hilvey, Charles Walker, Jamee 
French, John Martin, William Caldwell, William Wilburn, 
Thomas Clyburn, John French, John Sartin, John Lybrook, 
Thomas Farley, Eeuben Johnston, James Johnston, Adam 
Taylor, and Michael Williams. 

On these early records of Giles County appear the names of 
Chapman, Johnston, Oney, Givens, Price, Farley, Straley, (1.) 
Hare, Lybrook, Burke, Copley, McKensey, Garrison, Gore, 
Solesbury, Roberts, Harman, Mustard, McDonald, Fry, 
French, Miller, Clay, Cooke, Eaton, Munsey, Canterbury, Mul- 
lens, Burgess, Maupin, Jones, Hall, Emmons, Little, Spangler, 
Clyburn, Blankenship, Snodgrass, Atkins, Bogle, Conley, 
Rowe, Epling, Cecil, Tracy, Sarver, Marrs, King, Smith, Bowl- 
ing, Hager, Lester, Meadows, Albert, Scott, Ford, White, Bane, 
Shannon, McClaugherty, Watts, Pearis, Sweeny, Snidow, 
Toney, Napier, McComas, Burton, and Rowland, the latter 
named family from Philadelphia, Pa. 

Before giving further history of the County notice will be 
be taken of some interesting matters appearing on the old 
court record of Fincastle and Montgomery Counties. Among 
the numerous orders of the County Court ordering parties sus- 

(1) David Straley and John Fillinger first blacksmiths. 

160 New River Settlements 

pected of being Tories to appear in court, and either take the 
oath or give bond for their good behavior, is an order made up- 
on tlie petition of numerous citizens praying that the place 
for the holding of court be removed to Craig's, as it is a ^'bet- 
ter place for hitching horses." 

It must be remembered that the Count}' Courts, for there 
were no others in this section at that date, constituted practic- 
ally', the legislative, executive and judicial authority and pow- 
er of the County, before the itinerant District Judge came 

On March 3rd, 1778, Benjamin Rogerg was appointed a con- 
stable in Captain Pearis' company. In June, 1785, David 
Johnston was appointed a constable. On the 26th of April, 
1785, an order was made by the County Court allowing a sum 
of money to George Pearis for provisions, bacon and Indian 
meal furnished to two spies, and to the militia in June, 1782. 
Thomas Shannon and George Pearis were appointed in 1785 to 
review a road down New River on both sides to the Greenbrier 
County line, and the same year George Pearis and Snidow and 
Chapman had ferries established across New River. In 1787, 
September 8th, Mitchell Clay conveyed one half of the Clover 
Bottom tract of land to Hugh Innis, of Franklin County. On 
the 7th of April, 1788, George Pearis conveyed a tract of land 
on Sugar Run to Joseph Cloyd, and in June of the same year, 
conveyed a tract on New River to David McComas. June 1st, 
1790, Mitchell Clay ccnveyed to George Pearis the remaining 
half if the Clover liottom tract. In 1703 Colonel cniristian 
Snidow erected his dwelling house on the east side of New 
River, at the SnidoAv-Chapman Ferry, and Isaac Chapman 
settled on tlie opposite side of the river from Col. Snidow, and 
in 1704, George Chapman erected his dwelling house on the 
east side of New River, about one mile below Colonel Snidow's, 
on land now belonging to H. B. Shelton and H. L. Phlegar. 

The following extracts are taken from the record of Fin- 
castle County Court. On January 6th, 1773, the Court recom- 
mended to His Excellency, the Governor, tliat he will be pleas- 

Built in 1793. opposite Ripplemead, Va. 

1795-1836 161 

ed to establish a Court House for the County, at a piece of 
land commonly called McCauFs Place, near the property of 
Ross and Co., and the lands of Samuel Crockett, in lieu of the 
Lead Mines for the several reasons following: "that the said 
McCaul's Place and Crockett's lies on the Great road that pass- 
es through the county and that it is well watered, timbered, 
and level; that it is much more central than the Mines, and 
that it is in the neighborhood of a great deal of good land and 
meadows; that the Lead Mines are near the south line of the 
County, and there is no spring convenient, very scarce of 
timber, and in a neighborhood where there is very little pas- 
ture, and entirely off the leading road. To which order Ar- 
thur Campbell dissented." At March Court, 1773, John Aylett 
and John Todd qualified to practice law. John Aylett produc- 
ed a commission appointing him His Majesty's attorney. On 
the second day of April, 1775, appeared James Clevars agent 
for General Washington, and being first sworn as the law di- 
rects, produced to the court a valuation of the improvements 
on the lands situated on the lower or south side of the Great 
Kanawha, containing 10,990 acres, property belonging to Gen- 
eral Washington, with a certificate granted by William Rus- 
sell, Justice of the Peace for this County, and that Stevens, 
George Aubry, and John Clemonts, being first duly sworn to 
value the tax improvements, which said valuation of the im- 
provements amounting to 1,100 lbs., 15 sh. 71/0 pence, together 
with the above mentioned certificate is ordered to be recorded 
according to law. 

The following extracts are taken from the records of Mont- 
gomery County Court : John French qualified as Lieutenant in 
the eighty-sixth regiment. John Chapman appointed ensign 
at March Court, 1778, in Captain Lucas' company. On the 
eighth day of April, 1778, the following order was entered : 
"The court proceeded to vote for a place for the Court House. 
John Montgomery, Walter Crockett and James McGavock 
having made the several proposals and the question being put, 
a majority were of the opinion that it should be at Fort Chis- 

1G2 New River Settlements 

well, Mr. McGavock giving the county twenty acres of land on 
the hill above the house on the north side of the road to with- 
in ten poles of the mill, thence down the branch and binding 
thereon so as to make the same nearly square, with the use of 
the spHng in common with himself; also twenty acres of wood 
land to begin at the corner near his and extend eastwardly 
along tlie line ninety poles, and then such course and distances 
as will include the said twenty acres; likewise the use of any 
quarries on the Fort Chiswell tract for building, which lands 
and privileges he is to convey to the court for the benefit of the 
County in fee simple without any consideration other than the 
advantage of having a Court House located on his land; and 
a reservation of one half acre lot in said land, such as he shall 
choose after the ground for the public buildings is laid off." 

At September Court, 1785, John Chapman was appointed 
one of the Viewers to view a route for a road from Big Cross- 
ing of Walker's Creek by Thomas Shannon's and Sugar Run, 
at Taylor's land to Captain Pearls'. At November Court, 1790, 
John French was recommended for ensign and John Chapman 
for Lieutenant. At the June term, 1804, Isaac Chapman was 
recommended as Lieutenant in the eighty-sixth regiment and 
John French recommended as Captain in the second Battalion 
of the eighty-sixth regiment, and David French a Lieutenant in 
the same. At the October Court, 1795, William Dingess was ap- 
pointed Deputy Surveyor. At the June term, 1803 . the follow- 
ing order was entered: "Henley Chapman Gentl., having pro- 
duced a license under the signature of the Honorable Richard 
Parker, Paul Carrington, Jr., and Archibald Stewart permit- 
ting him to practice as attorney in the Superior and Inferior 
Courts within this Commonwealth, and having taken the oaths 
required by law, he was admitted to practice in this court. 

Our second war with England, usually called the war of 
1812, drew from the population of Giles County a consider- 
able number of men, who served at different periods during 
its existence. Among those who served were James Straley, 
John Straley, Daniel Straley, Captain John Peters, Julius 


Erected in 1806. 

1795-1836 163 

Walker, Berry Blankenship, James Sarver, John Spangler, 
Capt. C. H. A. Walker, William Oney and many others whose 
names the author has not been able to secure. Near the close 
of the war Andrew Johnston, as Captain, marched with a com- 
pany of men from Giles County, who were ordered to report 
at Norfolk, Virginia. On their way thither, on reaching Lib- 
erty, now Bedford City, they received information that a 
treaty of peace had been signed and that their services 
were not needed, and they were ordered to return to their 

There came into the County of Giles, at quite an early date, 
a family by the name of Lucas, who became very notorious on 
account of their crimes. There were other families of Lucas' 
in tlie New River Valley, and some in the county of Giles, who 
were people of standing and repute, and in no wise related to 
this criminal gang generally known as the Randall Lucas Tribe. 
Jeremiah Lucas, a son of Randall on May 28th,1814, was hang- 
ed in the public square of Pearisburg for the murder of Julius 
Walker, committed on the *Jth day of the April preceding. 
Walker was a soldier of the war of 1812, and during his ab- 
sence, Lucas became intimate with his, Walker's, wife, and on 
his return Lucas determined to kill him, and in order to ac- 
complish his purpose he feigned friendship for him, and in- 
vited him home with him, and on their way along the New 
River Cliffs not far from the Eggleston Springs, Lucas struck 
Walker with a club and continued to beat him over the head 
until he supposed him dead and then hid him away, and went 
on to Walker's house and stajed that night, and as is not un- 
common with a murderer he went back the next morning to 
visit the spot where he had left his victim, and found him sit- 
ting upright against a tree, unable, however, to move or get 
away. Walker begged Lucas to spare his life and told hira if 
he would not kill him that as soon as he was able to leave the 
country he would go and never return, and would say nothing 
atbout Lucas' assault upon him. Lucas was unrelenting-brute- 
like and clubbed the unfortunate man to death. So soon as the 

164 New River Settlements 

murder was discovered, the murderer fled, taking refuge in tl 
great Butt or Salt Tend Mountain. There was snow on th 
ground at the time and a posse of citizens pursued Lucas an 
finally ran him down and captured him. His captor was Joh 
Marrs, who died only a few years ago in Fayette County, Wes 
Virginia. Lucas was promptly indicted in the month follo-^ 
ing his capture, quickly tried, convicted and sentenced to I 
hanged on the 2Sth of the May following. The names of tt 
jurors who tried Lucas are, viz: Joseph Canterbury, Job 
Eaton, Joseph Hare, John Chapman, Isaac McKinsey, Phili 
Peters, Edward Hale, Isaac French, Thomas Clark, Jam( 
Emmons, William Tracey, and John, (name not legible.) Wi 
liam Chapman, Deputy for John Chapman, Sheriff of the Coui 
ty, carried the sentence into execution. After his sentence an 
while awaiting execution the jailor of the county, George Joh] 
ston, had confined his prisoner in what they call the dungeoi 
and on giving him food on one occasion, Lucas, who was 
physical giant, struck Johnston over the head with his han( 
cuffs, felling him to the floor, then sprang out and started c 
a run to escape; Johnston, the jailor, had an old musket loa( 
ed with powder and buck shot, which he kept in an adjoiniu 
room, and as soon as he could recover himself he seized tl 
musket and ran out into the street ; but by this time Lucas ha 
gone more than 150 yards away, when Johnston pulled dow 
on him and wounded him in one of his legs, which brought hii 
to the ground, and the jailor soon had him back in the dui 

Michael Montgole and family, in 1821, lived on the end of th 
Little Mountain, just below the mouth of Wolf Creek, in 
small hollow, a few hundred yards west of the late residenc 
of the late Joseph Hare, Esq. Montgole was accused of th 
murder of his wife, by shooting her with a rifle gun, on Jun 
16th, 1821. He claimed that the shooting was accidental, an 
insisted upon his innocence. He was arrested and promptly ii 
dieted by the Grand Jury of Giles County. Feeling agains 
him was so strong that he was enabled to procure a change c 


Born 1795, Died 1905, age 108 years when this photograph was taken. 

1795-1836 165 

venue to the Circuit Court of the County of Montgomery, 
wherein he was tried and convicted in May, 1822, and executed 
on the 21st of June, 1822. He died protesting his innocence. 

Dave Lucas, another son of Kandall's, was more than once in 
the Virginia penitentiary for larceny and other crimes, and 
finally, in 1841, he murdered John Poff, of Franklin County, 
Virginia, and being suspected of the murder, he ran away into 
Botetourt County, where he was arrested and brought back, 
indicted and on the 13th day of May, 1842, was tried by a 
jury composed of Robert Farris, Robert Caldwell, Christian 
Simmonds, Olliver C. Peters, Tobias Miller, Edward Nelson, 
Reuben Hughes, St. Clair French, Samuel Thompson, Joseph 
Fanning, Charles Miller, and Hiram Pauley, who found him 
guilty of murder and on the 16th day of the same month he 
was sentenced to be hanged. The sentence was carried into 
execution June 24th, 1842, by Abalsom Fry, deputy for John 
Peck, Sheriff of the County. Mr. Fry often related the inci- 
dents connected with the execution of this man, and among 
others the funeral sermon preached by Rev, Mr, Harris, a Meth- 
odist minister, on the day of execution, and that the text 
from which he preached was "As the Lord liveth and my soul 
liveth there is but a step between me and death." 

Thomas Berry Farley was the principal witness against 
Lucas, and upon his testimony he was convicted. Farley was 
born in 1795, on Gatliff's bottom on New River, in what is 
now Summers County, West Virginia, and died in Giles Coun- 
ty, Virginia, in 1903. He was the grandson of Thomas Farley, 
who settled on Culbertson's bottom now in Summers County, 
about the year of 1755. 

John, a third son of Randall Lucas also killed a man and 
was tried for his life; the jury however found him guilty of 
murder in the second degree and fixed his punishment in the 
penitentiary at nine years. 

The only other execution for murder in Giles County (1) 

(1). On March 23rd, 1906, Morris Cremeans is to hang for the mur- 
der of one Kidd. 

166 New River Settlements 

was that of Maliala Mason, a negro woman who was hanged 
May 14, 1852, for tlie murder of i^allie, a negro woman the 
property of W. B. Mason, The murder was committed on 
the loth day of January, 1853. The funeral of this colored 
woman was preached by a negro preacher by the name of 
Harry Chapman, from the text : "Put thine house in order, for 
thou must die and not live." 

In the early history of Giles County there were some very 
interesting characters, both wags and wits, among the num- 
ber one John Conley. On an occasion Mr. Conley was passing 
over the old County road across Cloyd's Mountain, and meet- 
ing Mr. Frank Wysor riding in a two wheeled vehicle, Conley 
accosted Mr. Wysor, who had a very large nose, saying to him, 
"Stranger turn your nose to one side until I can get by it." Mr. 
Wysor did as requested, and after he had passed Mr. Conley 
in the road, he stopped his horse and called to Conley, saying, 
"Old man, wouldn't you like to have a drink this morning?" to 
which Mr. Conley replied he would. Mr. Wysor dismounted 
from his vehicle, taking a bottle therefrom and placing it on 
the ground, told Mr. Conley to help himself, and as Mr. Conley 
stooped down to reach for the bottle Mr. Wysor with his fist 
struck him on the side of the head, knocking him over the brac- 
ing of the road, and when Mr. Conley recovered himself Mr. 
Wysor was in his vehicle and several hundred yards away. 

One Chrispianos Walker, a young man at that time who liv- 
ed with liit^ father on New River, opposite the mouth of Wolf 
Creek, had fallen in love with a young lady, a Miss Peters, 
whose parents lived nearly two miles above Walker's, on the 
river. They were engaged to be married, but the match was 
vigorously opposed by the girl's parents, and Walker was for- 
bidden the house and the girl put under watch, but Mr. Walk- 
er succeeded through some one in informing his betrothed that 
at a given time he would be at his father's house, have the nec- 
essary papers and the preacher on hand, and for her to at- 
tempt to make her escape at the time he had indicated. So,early 
one morning, the young lady suddenly disappeared from her 

1795-1836 167 

home; her absence soon being detected she was pursued by two 
of her brothers, but out,ran them, reaching Mr. Walker's house; 
and springing in at the door almost breathless she cried out to 
her lover "now or never." Her intended husband was still in 
bed when she reached the door, but he immediately sprang out, 
having on but one garment, and the preacher then and there 
said the ceremony, at the conclusion of which the brothers ap- 
peared, but too late. 

About the year of 1829, there appeared in Giles County (2) a 
quaint eccentric man, about thirty years of age, by the name 
of Norman Eoberts, Avho came from Massachusetts, and many 
interesting stories are told of his peculiar doings and sayings. 
A gentleman driving a wild cow met Roberts at the forks of a 
road, and the cow taking the wrong road, the one on which 
Eoberts was approaching, called out to Roberts: "head that 
cow." Roberts replied, "She is already headed." He then said 
to Roberts "Turn that cow," to which Roberts replied "She al- 
ready has the right side out," and the man then said to Rob- 
erts "Speak to that cow," whereupon Roberts said "Goodbye, 
cow." Roberts wore long hair, lived in caves, and often hid 
himself from his fellowmen. The young girls were afraid of 
him, as he pretended to make love to all he met with He died 
in Mercer County, West Virginia, about 1854. 

A brief history will be given of the general laws, Legisla- 
tive and Constitutional, bearing upon the subject of suifrage, 
which will lead up to the assembling and action of the Vir- 
ginia people in holding various Constitutional conventions. 
Sir George Yeardley, governor of Virginia, arrived in April, 
1619, he was the first to summon a General Assembly to be 
held by the inhabitants, every free man voting, and which was 
to make laws for the government of the country. He issued 
his summons in June, and on July 30th, 1619, the first Legis- 
lative body that ever sat in America assembled at Jamestown, 
the then capital of Virginia. This was a notable event, and 

(2). The first newspaper, called "The Southwest," was published 
by John Sower, about 1858, and the first picture gallery by Bushong, in 

108 New River Settlements 

portended radical changes in the form of government. Pop- 
ular right in America had entered on life and the long strug- 
gle to hold its own. Whatever might be the issue, the fact re- 
mains thair at least it had been born. Here commenced the 
question of popular and restricted suffrage which has agita- 
ted the body politic from that time to the present. In 1G70 suf- 
frage was restricted to free-holders and housekeepers. From 
the first years of the colony to 1655 all the settlers had a voice 
in public affairs, first in the daily matters of the Hundreds, 
and after 1019 in electing Burgesses. In the year 1055 the 
Burgesses declared that none but, "Housekeepers, whether 
freeholders, leaseholders or otherwise tenants should be capa- 
ble to elect Burgesses." In the year of 1050 the ancient usage 
was restored and all freemen were allowed to vote. In 1070, 
the first act restricting the suffrage was restored, and this, it 
seems, was thenceforth the determinate sentiment, with the ex- 
ception of the year, 1070, when Bacon's Assembly changed it 
and declared that freemen should again vote. This however, 
was swept away by tlie general abrogation of all Bacon's 
Laws, and the freehold restriction was thus restored, and was 
in operation when the Virginia convention assembled in 1776. 
That convention provided in the Constitution which it framed 
that "the right of suffrage in the election of members for both 
Houses shall remain as exercised at present;" and this remain- 
ed the law until the assembling of the convention of 1829-30. 

On the 5th day of October, 1829, a convention of delegates 
from the senatorial districts of the CommonwealtJi of Virginia 
began its session in the city of Richmond. James Monroe, 
Esq., ex-president of the United States, was elected presi- 
dent of the convention, but on account of ill health served only 
for a short time, being succeeded by Philip P. Barbour. 

From the 15th senatorial district, composed of tJie counties 
of Montgomery, Giles, Wytbe and Grayson, the following gen- 
tlemen were elected as delegates to said convention, viz : Gen- 
eral Gordon Cloyd, of Montgomery, Henley Chapman, of Giles, 
John P. Matthews, of Wythe and William Oglesby, of Grayson. 

1837-1861 169 

The Constituion framed by this convention made many rad- 
ical changes in the organic law of the state, and enlarged or 
rather extended, the right of suffrage to persons who had not 
theretofore exercised the same; but it failed to give satisfac- 
tion to the people west of the Alleghanies. 

The vote in the convention on the adoption of the Constitu- 
tion as engrossed, and as a whole, was taken thereon on Jan- 
uary 14th, 1830, and stood 55 for and forty against. Of the 
forty votes cast against the adoption of the instrument, twen- 
ty were by delegates from west of the Alleghanies, and whose 
names are as follows, viz: Andrew Beirne, William Smith, 
Fleming B. Miller, John Baxter, William Naylor, William 
Donaldson, John B. George, Andrew McMillan, Edward 
Campbell, William Byars, Gordon Cloyd, Henley Chapman, 
John P. Matthews, William Oglesby, Edwin S. Duncan, John 
Laidley, Lewis Summers, Adam See, Alexander Campbell, and 
E. M. Wilson. The constitution was adopted by the people by 
a majority if 10,492 votes. 

About 1832 and for some years subsequently the incorpora- 
tion and building of turnpike roads gave great impetus to the 
trade of the century ; among these roads Price's Mountain and 
Cumberland Gap turnpike, Wythe, Raleigh and Grayson and 
Giles, Fayette and Kanawha. (1.) 



Formation of Mercer County — Its Boundaries, Etc. — Courts 
Organized — First Grand Jury empanneled — Popular elec- 
tion — Including election of Members of Secession Con- 

In the election held in the county of Giles in 1836 for dele- 

(1) The Va. & Tennessee Railroad extended west of New River 
about 1856 and the C. & O. Ry. about 1872. 

170 New River Settlements 

gate for Legislature, Daniel Hale, Esq., of Wolf Creek, was 
choseu. The people living along the Flat Top Mountain, 
Bluestone and its upper waters and Brush Creek, partly with- 
in the territory of Giles and partly within the territory of 
Tazewell, finding themselves greatly inconvenienced by the 
distance they had to travel to their County seat, determined 
to have a new County, and so petitioned the General Assembly 
of Virginia. Among the petitioners were Captain George W. 
Pearis, Colonel Daniel H. Pearis, William White, Cornelius 
White, Captain William Smith, William H. Fr^ncli, Joseph 
Davidson, (2) John Davidson ,James Calfee, Isaac (ioi'e, r^lijah 
Bailey, and various others, then living within the territory of 
the proposed new County. The bill was introduced, passed, and 
became a law on the 17th day of March, 1837. The act in so far 
as the boundaries of the new County is concerned is as fol- 
lows : ''Be it enacted by the General Assembly, that all that 
part of the counties of Giles and Tazewell contained witliin the 
following boundary lines, to-wit: Beginning at the mouth of 
East River,in Giles County,and following tlie meanders thereof 
up to Toney's mill dam ; thence along the top of said mounain. 
East River Mountain, (the line from Toney's mill dam to the 
top of the mountain was evidently omitted in the act) ; to a 
point opposite the upper end of the old plantation of Jesse Bel- 
cher, deceased, thence a straight line to Peery's mill dam near 
the mouth of Alp's (Abb's) Valley, thence to a point well 
known by the name of the Peeled (Pealed) Chestnuts, thence 
to the top of the Flat Top Mountain, thence along said moun- 
tain to New River, thence up and along tlie various meander- 
ings of the same to the beginning, shall form one distinct and 
new County, and be called and known by the name of Mercer 
County, in memory of General Hugh Mercer, who fell at Prince- 
ton." The Governor was authorized to api)oint eighteen per- 
sons as Justices of the Peace for tlie County, the Justices then 

(2) Made settlements in Wright's Valley, within what is now the 
corporate limits of the city of BUiefield, West Virginia, and built what 
la known as "Davidson's House," in Hick's Addition; was a son of John 
Goolman Davidson. 

1837-1861 171 

in commission residing in that part of Giles and Tazewell 
Counties, which will be in Mercer County after the commence- 
ment of the act were to be of the number to be commissioned 
for the new County. The following are the names of those who 
held commissions as Justices of the Peace within the territory 
of the new County, viz : Captain William Smith, Captain C. H. 
A. Walker, Elijah Peters, John Davidson, John Brown, Robert 
Gore, Robert Lilley, Robert Hall. 

A court for the County was directed to be held on the second 
Monday of every month. The following named genlemen were 
by the act to locate the site of justice for the county, to- 
wit: Thomas Kirk, of the County of Giles, James Harvey, of 
the County of Tazewell, Joseph Stratton, of the county of Lo- 
gan, and Henry B. Hunter, of the County of Greenbrier. 

The first meeting of the justices for organization was to be 
at the residence of James Calfee, (Gladeville about one mile 
west of Princeton), on the second Monday in April, 1837. 

The County by the said act was attached to the same judicial 
circuit with the County of Giles ; the circuit superior Courts of 
Law and Chancery to be held on the first days of May and Oc- 

Philip Lybrook, of the County of Giles, John H. Vawter, of 
the County of Monroe, and John B. George, of the County of 
Tazewell were named as commissioners to run and mark the 
lines between the Counties of Giles and Tazewell and County 
of Mercer, and make report to the County Courts of each Coun- 
ty. It may here be noted that the line between Wythe and 
Montgomery crossed the County of Mercer from a point on 
East River near the present Ingleside station, and running 
northwest passed a little to the west of the public burying 
ground at Princeton, crossing Bluestone at the Clover Bottom. 
The Giles and Tazewell County lines crossed about three 
miles west of Princeton ; the Big Spring at Jarrell's being one 
of the points on this line, and the mouth of Milton's fork on 
Bluestone, and head of Crane Creek another. 

The County Court met on the second Monday in April and 

172 New River Settlements 

elected Moses E. Kerr, Clerk, and named Captain William 
Smith as Sheriff, who was afterwards duly commissioned as 
such by tlie Governor of the Commonwealth. Captain Smith 
named John Jarrell as his Deputy, and he was duly appointed. 
Robert Hall was appointed Surveyor of the County. 

The Commissioners to locate the place on which to erect the 
public buildings for the County, did so on a plat of land donat- 
ed by Captain William Smith, and near the Glady fork of 
Brush Creek, about one mile east of Gladeville, and the same on 
which the present Court House of Mercer County now stands. 
The question of the name of the County town was debated, 
some wishing to call it Banesville for Mr. Howard Bane, one of 
the Commissioners, but finally as the more appropriate, they 
called it Princeton, inasmuch as the county was named in mem- 
ory of General Hugh Mercer, who fell at Princeton, that it was 
altogether proper to name the County town for the place where 
General Mercer fell mortally wounded. 

The first Circuit Court for the County was held on the 1st 
day of May, 1837, by Judge James E. Brown, of Wythe, who 
appointed John M. Cunningham Clerk, and Thomas J. Boyd, 
Attorney for the Commonwealth. 

The first grand jury empanneled for Mercer County was 
composed of the following named gentlemen : Robert Hall, 
John Martin, Sr., Christian S. Peters, Green W. Meadows, 
John Walker, George W. Pearis, James M. Bailey, John David- 
son, Archibald Bailey, William Cooper, Richard Runion,Thom- 
as Maxwell, Joseph McKinney, Jr., Joshua L. Mooney, Wil- 
liam Ferguson, Achilles Fannon, Philip P. Bailey, Chrispianos 
Walker, Samuel Bailey, William Garretson, Lewis M. Wilson, 
Robert B. Davidson and Josiah Ferguson. The following At- 
torneys were admitted to practice at the first and second 
terms of the Court: viz: Joseph Stras, Albert G. Pendleton, 
Thomas J. Boyd, A. A. Chapman, M. Chapman, A. T. Caper- 
ton and David Hall. 

A list of all the judges, attorneys, clerks, justices of the 
peace, including names of members of the house of delegates 

1837-1861 173 

will be found in the appendix to this work, covering as far as 
possible the period from the first organization of civil govern- 
ment within the territory of which Mercer County had formed 
a part down to the date of the completing of this work. 

Since the date of the act creating the County of Mercer there 
has been three changes in its boundary lines. Under an act au- 
thorizing it, the line between Mercer and Tazewell from the top 
of East River Mountain to Peery's mill dam, was run, throwing 
a small strip of the territory of Tazewell into Mercer. In 1841 
on its eastern border, by an act of the Legislature, the line 
along New River at Wiley's Falls to the Touey mill dam was 
changed so as to run from said mill dam a straight line to Wi- 
ley's falls; thus cutting off a small strip of territory from Mer- 
cer and adding it to Giles County. In 1871 the county of Sum- 
mers was created, and all that part of the territory of Mercer 
County lying east and northeast of a line drawn from Round 
Bottom on the west side of New River to Brammer's Gate on 
the top of Flat Top Mountain was stricken off to the County 
of Summers, leaving to Mercer about 420 square miles. 

Some of the men who aided in securing and organizing 
the County of Mercer had come over the Alleghenies a few 
years after the close of the American Revolution, and some 
were the sons and grandsons of men who had come prior to 
the Revolution. Those who came during the war for indepen- 
dence were called ''Over Mountain or Peace men" for the rea- 
son that they were from over the mountains, and Peace men, 
because it was supposed that many of them were opposed to 
war with Great Britain, but this could not be true of all, be- 
cause many came before the Revolution began, and a large 
number of those who came fought gallantly in several battles ; 
notably. King's Mountain, Shallow Ford of the Yadkin, Wet- 
zell's Mills, and Guilford Court House. 

It is doubtless true that there were Tories in the New River 
Valley region, mostly however on the upper waters of the New 
River. Colonel Preston, when requested to secure the British 
and Tory prisoners captured at the battle of King's Mountain, 

174 New River Settlements 

in stockades to be built at Fort Chiswell answered, "that he 
did not regard the phice as secure, as there were more Tories 
in Montgomery County than any other county of Virginia." 
It is certain that some among the most prominent families of 
today in the New River Valley, and upon the Clinch waters 
are the descendants of Tory ancestors during the Revolution. 
For fear of giving offense or wounding the feelir^s of the more 
sensitive, no names are here mentioned, but no just reason can 
be assigned why men of that day may not have well been on 
the King's side. It was at least a question of opinion as to 
who was right and who was wrong. 

Returning to the organization of Mercer County it will be 
noted that the justices met and chose one of their number as 
Presiding Justice, and this was what had substantial'y been 
provided by former laws. 

Captain William Smith, who was born in the County of 
Rockingham, Virginia, in 1774, came to the New River Valley 
with his father and family when a small lad. He had often be- 
fore, as well as after 1837, been honored by his fellowmen. He 
was the Presiding Justice of Mercer County for twelve years, 
and although not a man of letters, without education in the 
common acceptation of the term, only able to write his name 
and that mechanically, for he could write nothing else, but his 
high sense of honor, coupled with his great native ability and 
common sense, commended him to the favor of his fellow citi- 
zens, who not only honored him by keeping him in the of- 
fice of Justice of the Peace and making him the presiding offi- 
cer of the court for a long term of years, but the court had his 
portrait painted, framed and hung over the judicial bench in 
the Court House, where it remained until the destruction of 
that building on the 1st day of May, 1862. 

Captain Smith was several times elected to the House of 
Delegates of Virginia as the representative of the County of 
Giles, and of Mercer and Giles after the formation of Mercer. 
He was a candidate for the Legislature twelve times and was 
elected six times. 

1837-1861 175 

The first settler at the place where the town of Princeton ia 
situated, was French C. Smith, who was a son of one Ezekiel 
Smith, who went to Texas in the early thirties, was captured 
by the Mexicans and kept in confinement for five years. 
French C. Smith, the son, shortly after his father left the coun- 
try for Texas, also went there, and became quite a prominent 
figure in Texas politics, having been the Whig candidate for 
Governor against General Sam Houston, the Democratic can- 
didate, and by whom Smith was defeated by a large majority. 

The first merchant to open a store at Princeton was Theo- 
dore Jordan, who was followed by Captain William H. Howe, 
George W. and Daniel H, Pearis, Ward and Gibbony, John- 
ston and Pearis, Pack and Vawter, John A, Pack & Co., Scott 
P^mmons & Pearis, Pearis & Mahood, John W. Smith, Brown & 
Shumate. (1) 

The first hotel keepers were James M. Bailey and Charles 
W. Calfee, who were followed later by George W. and Daniel 
H. Pearis and J. H. Alvis. Daniel Straley was the first Black- 
smith, followed later by George B. Newlee, and later by J. W. 
Dorsey. The first shoemaker was Isham Brinkley, followed 
by Crockett Scott, and the first tanners were Thompson & 
Chapman. The first Court House was built in 1839 by a man 
by the name of Ledbetter. Mercer County enjoys the distinc- 
tion of having had more Court Houses than any other county 
in the state and promises to build still more. The first Court 
House was so badly erected that it had to be taken down and 
rebuilt, and this was destroyed when the town of Princeton 
was burned in 1862. The third, in part built at Concord 
Church by George Evans, contractor, and abandoned after 
an expenditure of several thousand dollars ; the fourth built in 
1874 by Andrew Fillinger was destroyed by fire in 1875, sup- 
posed to be the work of an incendiary; the fifth and present 
one with the additions thereto was built in 1876 by D. W. Mc- 
Claugherty in part and also later by John C. Darst; and it 
is now seriously proposed to build the sixth one at Bluefield, 

(1) Dr. R. B. McNutt was the first resident pliysician. 

176 New Kiver Settlements 

that is, whenever the necessary vote of the people can be had 
removing the County seat to Bluefield. 

For a number of years the Counties of Giles and Mercer 
sent a delegate to the Legislature. The political parties in the 
two counties were very closely and equally divided. 

The census of 1840, the first taken after the creation of the 
county of Mercer showed a population of 2,243 people. Many 
fierce political battles were fought in the two counties, from 
the year of 1840 to that of 1854. These spirited political con- 
tests were usually over two oflBces, member of the house of 
Delegates and the office of Sheriff. 

In the year of 1841 Oscar F. Johnston defeated Captain 
William Smith for the House of Delegates. In the year of 
1842 William H. French defeated Chapman I. Johnston for 
the House of Delegates. 

Before proceeding to relate incidents occurring in later con- 
tests, it will here be mentioned that two quite distinguished 
gentlemen and members of the bar, viz: Albert G. Pendleton 
and Nathaniel Harrison, over a trifling matter came very 
near venturing out on tlie field of honor to settle their differen- 
es; the interposition of mutual friends settled the difficulty, 
and no blood was shed. 

In the year of 1843 the contest for the House of Delegates 
was between William H. French of Mercer, the Whig candidate 
and Albert G. Pendleton, of Giles, the Democratic candidate, in 
which contest French won by eleven votes. At that day there 
were only two voting places in the county of Mercer, one at 
Princton and the other at Pipestem. It was customary and 
usual in those days for the opposing candidates to get to- 
gether at the Court House on the day of an election and sit in 
the polling room. The voting then was viva voce, and when an 
elector cast his vote, the candidate for whom he voted express- 
ed his satisfaction by publicly thanking him. A very amusing 
little incident as well as a clever trick occurred at Princeton 
in the election between French and Pendleton, and is deemed 
worthy of relating here. French, the Whig candidate was at 

1837-1861 177 

rinceton on the day of the election sitting in the polling 
lace. Captain George W. Pearis, a very ardent democrat, 
nd known to be the special champion and friend of Colonel 
'endleton, lived at Princeton and had charge of Mr. Pendle- 
3ns interest at that place on the day of election. Only those 
ould vote who had a freehold, and were assessed with some 
art of the public revenue and had paid the same. 

One Samuel Waldron, who lived about 1% miles southeast 
f where the city of Bluefield is now located, but who under 
he law was not a voter, was present at the election at Prince- 
on and expressed to Captain I*earis his desire to vote, and in- 
uired of Captain Pearis whether he, Waldron, was a legal vo- 
er. Being informed by Pearis that he did not think he was, 
ut that if he would vote for Pendleton he thought he could 
rrange the matter for him. Out of the three commissioners 
onducting the election, two of them were Whigs and known 
riends of French. Captain Pearis told Waldron to go in and 
iffer his vote, and that when his name was called he, Pearis, 
^ould suddenly appear at the Court House door and chal- 
enge his vote, and that he had no doubt that the commission- 
irs would promptly decide that he was a legal voter. Wal- 
Iron appeared before the commissioners and expressed his de- 
iire to vote, and the Crier called out ''Samuel Waldron, who 
io you vote for?" Before he could answer Captain Pearis 
ippeared at the door and shouted at the top of his voice, "I 
challenge that vote, that man is not a voter." From these cir- 
mmstances French's friends concluded that Waldron wanted 
to vote for him, and they promptly decided that he was a qual- 
ified voter, and being again inquired of as for whom he wished 
to vote, he replied, "Pendleton," much to the chagrin and dis- 
appointment of French and his friends. Another incident oc- 
curing at this same election is worth telling as Mr. Pendleton 
was the butt of the joke this time. Mr. Pendleton very early 
on the morning of election day on his way to Pipestem voting 
place, went several miles out of his way to see Mr. John Com- 
er, who lived on Christian's Ridge and after a talk with Com- 

178 New River Settlements 

er, was led to believe that he was a friend and would vote for 
him, so he took him u}) on his horse behind him and rode to 
the polling place about ten miles away, and when Comer's 
name was called by the Crier at the polls, Comer shouted 

A few years after this Cornelius White was elected to the 
House of Delegates from the counties of Mercer and Giles. 
Mr. White was a plain farmer, without much education, but 
a man of good native sense. After reaching Richmond and 
entering the House he introduced a bill of some local nature, 
touching some local matters connected with roads, and seem- 
ed to have taken no further interest in the bill until within a 
day or two of the close of the session, when he inquired of 
some friend if he knew anything of his bill and being answered 
in the negative, Mr. White inquired what he should do about 
it; his friend told him to call up the bill and ask for unani- 
mous consent to i)ut the bill on its passage. The next morning 
at the opening of the session. Mr. White addressed the Speak- 
er telling him about the bill and how anxious he was to have 
it pass and then said ''Mr. Speaker, if you will take up that bill 
and have it passed I promise you that I will show you the 
frog of my foot to-morrow morning." 

In the year of 1847 difficulties growing out of relations be- 
tween the United States and Mexico brought on war between 
the two countries. No organized troops went from either of 
the two Counties of Giles or Mercer, though Col. Daniel H. 
Pearls, the commandant of the militia of the latter County, 
sought to obtain a commission as Colonel of the Virginia reg- 
iment then being organized for the field, but failed, the com- 
mission being given to Colonel John M. Hamptrampeh, and to 
John Randolph as Lieutenant Colonel, and to Jubal A. Early 
as Major. 

Captain James F. Preston, of Montgomery Count)', raised 
in that County a company which was attached to the Virginia 
Regiment. Many of these men who went with the Virginia 
Regiment to Mexico, became distinguished soldiers in our 

1837-1861 179 

ate Civil War : viz : Jubal A. Early became a Lieutenant Gen- 
ral, Captain James F. Preston became Colonel of the Fourth 
Virginia Regiment of the Stonewall Brigade, Robert D. Card- 
er succeeded Preston in command of the Fourth Regiment, 
Charles A. Ronald also became Colonel of this Regiment, and 
t one time commanded the Stonewall Brigade, Joel Black- 
rd became Captain of the first company from Giles County, 
nd while such was killed in the battle of Frazier's farm in 
862, W, W. McComas, a prominent physician of Giles Coun- 
y, as Captain led a company of artillery from that County, 
osing his life in the battle of South Mills, N. C. Judge Rob- 
rt A. Richardson, at one time a Judge of the Supreme Court 
f Appeals of Virginia, was a soldier in the Mexican war, and 
3d the first company from Mercer County into the civil War, 
mdrew J. Grisby, who aided in the organization of the first 
ompany of volunteers that left Giles County, was made Ma- 
or of the 27th Virginia regiment of the Stonewall Brigade, 
iterwards becoming Colonel of that regiment, and several 
imes in command of the Brigade, was a member of Doni- 
>han's regiment of Missouri Cavalry in the Mexican war. Har- 
ey Wall, who long lived in Mercer County, was a member of 
yap tain Preston's company, as well and Daniel H. Harman, 
>f Boone County, West Virginia, Benjamin Linkous, another 
nember of Preston's company, became a Colonel of a Confed- 
erate regiment, and Greenbury Chandler, who was with Pres- 
on in Mexico, became a Confederate officer and was slain in 
:he battle of Piedmont Virginia. 

Another step forward w^as to be taken by the Virginia peo- 
ple in the enlargement of the right to vote, and a convention 
assembled at Richmond on the 14th. day of October,1850, and 
framed a constitution which was adopted, whereby the re- 
strictions upon the right of suffrage were practically swept 
away; excluding only persons of unsound mind, paupers, non- 
commissioned oflScers, soldiers, seamen, and marines in the 
service of the United States, and persons who had been con- 
victed of bribery in an election or of any infamous offense. 

ISO New River Settlements 

The representatives in this convention from the district in 
which Mercer County was included were Albert G. Pendleton 
of Giles, Allen T. Caperton and Augustus A. Chapman of Mon- 

The Constitution framed by this convention was adopted as 
a compromise measure between the east and the west. 

In 1850 Lewis Xeal defeated John Miller, of Sinking Creek, 
for the House of Delegates. In 1851 Captain George W. 
Pearls was elected to the House of Delegates over Alexander 
Mahood, and in 1852 Reuben Garretson defeated Colonel 
James M. Bailey. Under the Constitution of 1851 Mercer was 
accorded a delegate. 

The most remarkable and notable contest in the matter oi 
an election, tliat ever occurred in Mercer County, was over thai 
of a delegate to the Secession Convention. The contest was 
between two brothers, William H. French and Napoleon B, 
French. At the time of this election Napoleon B. French was 
serving as a senator in the Legislature of Virginia from the 
district of which Mercer County was a part, and was in Rich' 
mond at tlie time of this election. These men were and had for 
long years been prominent in politics, and were the two best 
known men not only in the County, but in this particular sec- 
tion of the state. Both brothers had been Whigs all of theii 
lives and up to a short time prior to the beginning of the Civ- 
il war, when William H. left the Whig and united with the 
Democratic party. This action on his part so incensed his old 
political friends that they determined to get even with him 
the first opportunity, and when he announced himself a candi- 
date for the convention and made known his views, which tend- 
ed toward secession, his old political friends who had become 
his enemies, as well as the political friends of his brother, Na- 
poleon, at once named the latter as the opposing candidate- 
There was considerable feeling in this contest and some bit- 
terness. At this time a large majority of the people of Mer- 
cer County were strongly union in sentiment. 

The great political battle between these two brothers was 

1837-1861 181 

fought to the finish, and resulted in the election of Napoleon 
B. French by a majority of more than 300. On the assem- 
bling of the convention in February, 1861, Mr. French took his 
seat therein as the representative of the people of Mercer 

The next spirited contest was for the Legislature, a battle 
royal which took place between Captain Robert A. Richardson 
and Dr. Robert B. McNutt, in May, 1861. Richardson had rais- 
ed a company of volunteers for the Civil War, of which he had 
been elected Captain, and consequently had gathered to himself 
a very large following and was then on the eve of starting ofif 
for the war, and the people of the County were very much ag- 
itated and excited. Dr. Robert B, McNutt had long lived in 
the County, was a very eminent physician, had quite a strong 
relationship, and a host of friends, personal and political. He 
was defeated by Richardson by a small majority. 

The Secession Convention which assembled in Richmond 
in February,1861, was composed of the ablest men in the state ; 
they were not only able but patriotic, and weighed well and 
carefully every step that was taken. A great deal of the time 
of the convention was taken up in considering the report of 
the committee on Federal relations. The report of this com- 
mittee recommended certain amendments to the Constitution 
of the United States fixing the limits of the slave territory, and 
the rights of slaveholders to take their slave property into the 
limits of such territory'. There were a great many substitutes 
offered for this report, and it was evident from the various 
votes taken on these substitutes that in the beginning the 
larger number of the members of the convention were opposed 
to separation from the Union, and on the other hand the ma- 
jority thereof seems to have been unwilling to see the Federal 
Government coerce the states which had seceded. At last and 
when the point was reached and it became evident that the 
Federal authorities were determined to attempt to coerce the 
seceding states, it became necessary for the convention to 
take some decided step. It went into secret session on Tues- 

182 New River Settlements 

day, the 16th day of April, 1801, and ou that day Mr. ^^'illiam 
Ballard Preston, of Moutgoiuery County, submitted an ordi- 
nance "to repeal tlie ratification of the Constitution of the 
United States by the state of Virginia, and to resume all the 
rights and powers granted under said Constitution." 

In the afternoon session of that day Mr. Robert Scott, of 
Fauquier, offered a substitute for Mr. Preston's ordinance. 
This substitute recited that there were still eight slavehold- 
ing states within the Union, and some members of the conven- 
tion favored consultation and co-operation with these states, 
and that it was desirable to ascertain the preferences of the 
people of the state as to whether or not they desired co-opera- 
tion with the eight slave states or immediate secession, and to 
that end a vote of the people of the state be taken on the 4th 
Tuesday in May next thereafter. When a vote on this substi- 
tute was called for, Mr. Baldwin of Augusta moved an adjourn- 
ment, but the convention refused to adjourn by a vote of sixty- 
five to seventy- eight, Mr. French, the representative from Mer- 
cer, voting for adjournmeut. After the transaction of some 
other business another motion was made to adjourn, which 
was carried by a vote of seventy-six to sixty-five, French again 
voting for adjournment. On Wednesday, the 17th day of April, 
18G1, the convention resumed consideration of the ordinance 
submitted by Mr. Preston and the substitute offered therefor 
by Mr. Scott. The vote was first taken on the substitute which 
was lost by sixty-four to seventy-nine, French voting for 
tlie substitute, and casting his vote with John A. Campbell, of 
Washington, John J. Jackson of Wood, John F. Lewis of Rock- 
ingham, John S. Burdett of Taylor, Jubel A. Early of Frank- 
lin, Samuel Price of Greenbrier, Henry L. Gillaspie, of Ra- 
leigh, and other members from northwestern Virginia. The 
Monroe, Giles and Tazewell delegates voted against the sub- 
stitute. The substitute being lost, a vote was then taken on 
the ordinance proposed by Mr. Preston which was adopted by 
a vote of eighty- eight to fifty-five. On this final vote French 
voted for the ordinance as did almost all the members from the 

1837-1861 183 

southwestern part of the state, while the major part of the 
members from the northwestern part of the state voted against 

It is here noted in this connection that the Congress of the 
United States agreed to and submitted an amendment to the 
Constituion, which was approved March, 1861, touching the 
slavery question and known as amendment number "Thirteen," 
and which was ratified by the Legislature of the restored Gov- 
ernment of Virginia at Wheeling, the 13th day of February, 
1862. The amendment is in the following words: "No amend- 
ment shall be made to the Constitution which will authorize or 
give to Congress the power to abolish or interfere in any state 
with the domestic institutions thereof, including that of per- 
sons held to labor or service by the laws of the said state." 

The convention of Virginia provided for the submission of 
the ordinance of secession to the people on the 23rd day of 
May, 1861, for ratification or rejection. It was ratified by a ma- 
jority of 96,7.50 out of a total vote of 161,018 votes. The Coun- 
ties of northwestern Virginia in a vote of 44,000 gave 40,000 
majority against the ordinance. The vote in Mercer County 
on the ordinance was practically unanimous, only seven votes 
being cast against it. Giles County cast her 1033 votes solidly 
for the ordinance ; electing at the same time Captain William 
Eggleston to the House of Delegates over Dr. John W. Easly 
by 234 votes. 

As has been'seen by reference to the vote of the delegates in 
the convention from the Counties west of the Alleghenies and 
north of the Kanawha, as well as the vote of the people of 
those Counties, that they were intently and earnestly opposed 
to secession, while all he Counties south of the Kanawha, and 
particularly those in the New River Valley and southwest Vir- 
ginia were almost a unit for it. Toward the closing days of 
the secession convention, a party of gentlemen from several 
Counties in the state — representative men, catching the spirit 
of the people at home, which seemed to be in advance of tliat 
of the convention, by self appointment met in the city of Rich- 

184 New River Settlements 

mond with the view and purpose of influencing if possible the 
action of the convention in favor of immediate secession. 
What bearing if any the meetings of this self constituted body 
of men had on the action of the convention can only be con- 

Such was the intense feeling and excitement in Richmond, 
and in fact throughout the Commonwealth, that the repreaeu' 
tatives in the convention from the northwestern and other 
parts of the state who opposed the action of the convention 
and refused to vote for the ordinance, became alarmed for 
their safety, some leaving and traveling incognito, while others 
thought it necessary to procure letters of safe conduct from 
the Governor of the Commonwealth in order to enable them to 
reach their homes. 

The news of the passage of the ordinance of secession, spread 
throughout the state like unto wild fire in a dry stubble on 
a windy day. The intelligence was greeted with shouts of ap- 
plause by the populace, bells were rung, cannons boomed, 
great gatherings of the people were had, and oratory dispensed 
without stint. 

Virginia had stood for peace, placed herself in the position 
of mediator between the contending sections. Her appeals 
on the one side were unheeded, and the threats and demonstra- 
tions on the other, did not move her. She did not intend to 
act in haste, and only decided to leave the Union when the 
Federal Executive called for seventy-five thousand troops to 
coerce the Seceded States. 

History can scarcely furnish a parallel of the beginning of a 
revolution so orderly, peaceful, and without blood shed or ex- 
cesses of any kind, all accomplished in a quiet. Constitutional 
form and method — Virginia claiming nothing further than to 
be allowed to depart in peace, uttering as she withdrew from 
the Union the hope and prayer that war might be averted. 
Without waiting for the result of the vote on the ordinance, 
the people went to work with energy to organize and equip the 
whole military force of the state for defense, not for aggressive 

18G1-1865 185 

war on the Federal Union, but to prevent if possible, the Fed- 
eral power from crushing the state and overthrowing Consti- 
tutional government therein, and to prevent further encroach- 
ments upon the rights of the state. Virginia had resumed her 
original sovereignty, and had withdrawn all the powers and 
rights that she had delegated to the Federal agent ; she had re- 
voked the poAver of attorney that she had given that Federal 
agent, and did not propose to withdraw the revocation, but to 
maintain it by force of arms if necessary; that was all. 

The position of the south,and particularly of Virginia, seems 
not to have been well understood by the great bulk of the north- 
ern people, who were led astray by the cry for the Union, and 
that these people of the south were preparing to establish a 
government baied upon slavery as its chief cornerstone, when 
in fact our southern people were attempting to escape from a 
government and power which sought to destroy their Consti- 
tional rights. It was not the establishment of a southern Con- 
federacy that our people sought and fought for, but it was to 
uphold and maintain the integrity and sovereignty of the state, 
and with no view of making war on the other States of the 
Union or on the Federal Government. 




The organization of Military Companies — The concentration 
of Armies — The War Begins — Great Union Uprising in 
Northwestern Virginia — Restored Government of Virginia 
— Formation of West Virginia — Various battles and en- 
gagements—Campaigns of 1861, 1862, 1863, 1864, 1865— 
The war ends — Peace restored — Reconstruction in Mercer 

At the period of the organization of military companies re- 
ferred to above, the whole state of Virginia, in a measure, pre- 

186 New River Settlements 

sented a fair picture of a grand niilitarv camp and tlie people, 
except those in the northwestern part of the state were aglow 
with enthusiasm for the defense of Virginia. Enlistments 
were rapidly going on in all theCounties, cities, towns and vil- 
lages within the Commonwealth, and the people of the New 
River Valley Counties were abreast with their sister Counties 
in this great movement. 

The change in ])ublic sentiment wrought in the minds of the 
people in a few short weeks was most remarkable. In the 
County of Giles Mr. Manilius Chapman, known to lean strong- 
ly towards separation from the Federal Union, was in Febru- 
ary elected to the convention by a majority of only about twen- 
ty votes over Mr. Charles D. Peck, an open and avowed Union- 
ist, and who declared ^tliat "he would give up his slaves rather 
than dissolve the Union." A little more than three short months, 
the solid vote of Giles County was cast for the ratification of 
the ordinance of Secession. The same is true of the people of 
Mercer county, where the Union candidate was elected by a 
vote of over two to one ; yet in the same length of time the sen- 
timent of the people had been so revolutionized, that, save and 
except seven votes, the County went solidly for secession ; this, 
too, in County whose population was composed almost wholly 
of white people, there being but few slaves in the county. 

The folHo wing companies were 'organized and sent to the war 
by the County of Giles, viz: Captain James H. French's com- 
pany of infantry attached to the 7th Virginia regiment; Cap- 
tain W. W . McComas' company of artillery attached to 
Sarke's battalion; Captain Andrew Gott's company (1) at- 
tached to the SOth Virginia regiment of infantry ; Captain Por- 
terfield's company attached to the ^Gth regiment of Virginia 
infantry; Captain William Eggleston's company attached to 
the 24th Virginia regiment of infantry; Captain William H. 
Payne's company attached to the 27th Virginia battalion of 
cavalry. To these should be added numbers of Giles County 

Note 1. The officers of Captain Andrew Gott's company I, 36 Va. 
Infty., were, Capt. Andrew Gott, Lieuts. James K. Shannon, Leander 
Johnston and Jno. M. Henderson. 

1861-1865 187 

men who attached themselves to companies from other coun- 
ties, and also the Reserve forces composed of those between the 
ages of sixteen and eighteen years and forty-five and fifty 
years. (2) 

Mercer County organized and sent to the field ten companies 
as follows, viz: (3). Captain Robert A. Richardson's company 
attached to the 24th regiment of Virginia infantry; Captain 
William B. Dorman's company attached to a regiment of the 
Wise Legion; Captain John A. Pack's company and Captain 
W. (j. Ryan's company, both of which were attached to the 60th 
regiment of Virginia ; Captain Richard B. Foley's Independent 
comj)any of infantry; Captain John R. Dunlap's company at- 
tached to the 23rd Virginia battalion of infantry; Captain 
Vvllliam H. French's company attached to the 17th Virginia 
regiment of cavalry ; Captain Napoleon B. French's company 
of artilery, unattached, and captured at Fort Donnelson, and 
afterwards divided, part going to the 17th regiment of Vir- 
ginia cavalry and the remainder thereof to Clark's 30th batta- 
lion of Virginia infantry; the companies of Captain Jacob C, 
Straley and Captain Robert Gore attached to the 17th regiment 
of Virginia cavalry. The company of Captain William B. Dor- 
man was captured in the battle of Roanoke Island, in 1862, and 
on the return of the members of said company they separated, 
some going to Captain Jacob C. Straley's company and some 
to a company commanded by Captain Thomas Thompson, who 
was succeeded by Captain James H. Peck, and this company 
was attached to the 26th Virginia battalion of infantry com- 
manded by Colonel George M. Edgar. 

It is not intended here, in fact it is not at all possible, as the 
information is not at hand, to present a list of the names of 
the men who composed these various companies, but the rolls 
of some of the companies from the Counties of Giles and Mer- 

(2). A company of Reserves commanded by Capt. Wm. H. Dulaney. 

(3). In addition to these ten companies, Mercer County also sent 
Capt. Alex. Pine's company of Reserves, attached to the 4th Va. Bat- 
talion. See Appendix G. 

188 New River Settlements 

cer, as far as they have been obtained, together with the names 
of the various company, officers will be found in the appendix 
to this volume. 

As has already been stated, when our people entered upon 
the war it was with brave determination and vigor — not count- 
ing the cost. It was to them simply the question of defending 
Virginia, and Virginia's soil from the threatened invasion of 
a Northern army; and to preserve our rights and liberties as 
free people, and for which our ancestors had shed their blood 
in our contest with Great Britain. It was not a war on the 
part of our people to preserve or perpetuate slavery, for thou- 
sands of our best and bravest soldiers, nor their ancestors had 
ever owned a slave. We were forced to the choice of which 
master we should serve — we could not serve both. We regarded 
our primary allegiance due to tlie state which, with the other 
states, had given life and existence to the Federal agent that 
now proposed to turn upon, crush and destroy its creators. 
These were the arguments and presentations of the question at 
that time. For these contentions our people stood ready to 
surrender their lives, their all, save honor, and fought to the 
finish, only yielding to overpowering and overwhelming force, 
but not surrendering an iota of the principles for which they 
so long, so faithfully and bravely battled. These principles 
are just as sacred today as they ever were, they were not lost 
by the results of the war, only the effort to maintain and estab- 
lish them by the arbitrament of tlie sword was a failure. 

In the months of May, June and the early days of July, 18G1, 
the Federal Government had gathered two great armies in the 
East under the command of General Winfield Scott; one at 
Washington and in tliat vicinity, which during the months re- 
ferred to had crossed the Potomac into Virginia, the other 
along the upper Potomac in the vicinity of Martinsburg and 
Harper's Ferry. The first named army under General McDow- 
ell as field commander, the second under General Patterson as 
commander in the field. 

The Confederate Government to oppose these hostile and in- 

1861-1865 189 

vading armies, had gathered and mobilized an army at and 
around Manassas Junction under General G. T. Beauregard; 
another to oppose General Patterson on the upper Potomac 
and in the Valley under General Joseph E. Johnston. 

During the month of May many of the companies from the 
New River Valley Counties marched away to their respective 
places of rendezvous, among them the companies of Captain 
James H. French, of Giles, and Captain Richardson, of Mercer, 
which left their respective Counties about the last days of May, 
1861, and hastened to Lynchburg, Virginia, their appointed 
place of rendezvous, and on the first day of June thereafter 
joined General Beauregard's army, then being concentrated at 
and around Manassas Junction on the Orange and Alexandria 
Railroad and about twenty-five miles from the city of Wash- 
ington, The companies of French (1) and Richardson were 
assigned to the 24:th regiment of Virginia infantry then com- 
manded by Colonel Jubal A. Early. The company of Captain 
McComas was assigned to duty with the Wise Legion, and did 
its first service in the Greenbrier-Sewell Mountain countr^^, and 
was then transferred to the eastern department with tlie Legion 
to which it belonged. The other companies as organized, those 
from Giles as well as those from Mercer, went forward to their 
respective places of assignment. It is estimated that the Coun- 
ty of Giles sent into the Confederate service about eight hun- 
dred men, of whom nearly forty per cent, were lost, and that 
about fifteen hundred men went from the County of Mercer, of 
whom it is estimated that fully forty per cent were lost. These 
tv\^o Counties had their representatives on every important 
battlefield in the state of Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, 
Pennsylvania, and on some of the fields in Tennessee, Ken- 
tucky and North Carolina. 

General Beauregard's outposts were at Fairfax Court House^ 
and on the morning of June 1st, 1861, a Federal scouting par- 
ty entered the town and a skirmish with the Confederates un- 
ci) French's company was subsequently and prior to the first battle 
of Manassas, transferred to the 7th Virginia Regiment. 

190 New River Settlements 

der Major Ewell took place, iu wliieli Captain John Q. Marr, 
of Fauquier County, was killed. 

During the month of June and the early days of July, Gen- 
eral Beauregard was actively engaged in the organization of 
his troops and in preparing them for field service. The regi- 
regiment and place dunder the command of Colonel Jubal A. 
24th Virginia regiments were brigaded with the 7th Louisiana 
regiment and jjlaced under the command of Colonel Jubal A. 

Rumors were afloat in the camps for several days previous 
to the Federal advance that we would soon be attacked by Gen- 
eral McDowell's army. 

Soldiers, even at that earh^ stage of the war, seemed to have 
the peculiar faculty of finding out things that it was difficult 
to conceive how or where they got their information, — proba- 
bly a kind of intuition. 

In the early days of July our pickets on the outposts were 
required to be more vigilant, and orders were issued requiring 
the men not on picket to keep strictly within the camp. One 
night during this time a picket fired his gun at some object, 
real or imaginary; nevertheless the long roll sounded to arms. 
We had the guns but no ammunition, and such confusion was 
scarcely ever seen, but we survived it — got straightened out, 
and became much more calm when we found no enemy was ap- 

Orders came to prepare three days rations and to be prepar- 
ed to march at a moment's notice. Everything transportable 
was packed and in readiness, the soldier's knapsack was full 
and heavy, and this together with his musket and forty rounds 
of cartridges, made a burden too heavy to be borne on a July 
day and we learned better later on, soon finding out how to re- 
duce our baggage to the minimum. The order to march came 
on the 17th day of July and we left our camp and proceeded to 
the high ground overlooking the valley of Bull Run, and Mitch- 
ell's, Blackburn's, and McLean's fords, where we remained that 
night and until about noon on the 18th, when we discovered a 

1861-1865 191 

cloud of dust rising beyond the stream, which indicated the ad- 
vance of a body of men, which proved to be the vanguard of 
the Federal army, which threw itself against General Long- 
street's brigade and was repulsed; but soon renewed the at- 
tack, when the seventh Virginia regiment was led into the ac- 
tion by Colonel Early, and this attack was repulsed. After a 
sharp cannonade of two hours or more, the enemy retired and 
some of our men crossed the stream, picked up hats, guns, 
blankets, and the enemy's wounded. The loss in the 7th regi- 
ment was small, a few slightly wounded, among them Isaac 
Hare and James H. Gardner, of the Giles company, struck 
with spent balls. Lieutenant Colonel Lewis B. Williams was 
in command of the regiment, Colonel Kemper being absent on 
detached service, but he joined us the next day We occu- 
pied the field that night, next day and until Saturday, when 
we were relieved and allowed to retire a short distance into a 
pine thicket to rest and recuperate. The enemy having suffi- 
ciently felt of our position and of us to satisfy him that we 
were there and meant to stay as long as necessary, retired out 
of the range of our guns, and began the flank movement which 
culminated in the battle of Sunday afterwards. 

On Sunday morning, the 21st, we were lined up along the 
belt of pines and timber which fringed the southern bank of 
the stream, where we were subjected to a severe shelling from 
the enemy's guns posted on the heights beyond. On the day 
preceding, the companies of Richardson, of Mercer, and Ly- 
brook, of Patrick, were sent to Bacon Race Church to guard 
the road leading to our position from that direction, and these 
companies remained in their i^osition throughout Sunday and 
did not participate in the battle. 

About 11 o'clock A. M. of Sunday, July 21st, Colonel Early 
led his brigade of three regiments, less the two companies 
above referred to, across Bull Run at McLean's Ford and on 
to the hills beyond, forming in line of battle and prepared to 
advance, when he was recalled to take position in the rear of 
the troops at Mitchell's and Blackburn's ford. 

192 New River Settlements 

About high noon could be heard distinctly the roar of battle 
far to the left and to the west. It was fully eight miles away, 
and Colonel Early receiving an order to march to the field of 
contention, moved off rapidly, the 13th Mississippi, Colonel 
Barksdale, having been substituted for the 24th Virginia regi- 
ment, which had been placed in position at one of the fords. 
The movement of Early's brigade for the grater part of the dis- 
tance was at double quick through a broiling hot sun and 
many of the men were almost completely exhausted and fam- 
ished for water. The brigade reached the field of action about 
three o'clock and twenty minutes, P. M., the time consumed in 
the movement being about two hours and twenty minutes. In 
this rapid movement no roads were looked for or traveled, but 
the command was governed alone by the sound of the firing. 
On the arrival of this brigade the situation was anything but 
promising to the Confederates; the Federals were making an- 
other, and it was the last, swing around the Confederate left. 
The brigade of General E. Kirby Smith, which had just pre- 
ceded that of Early on the field, had passed through a strip of 
woods, behind which Early's command marched to the left, 
and into an open field beyond, and near to the Chinn house, 
which was almost immediately on the left of the brigade. 
Here the deployment of the brigade began to meet the oncom- 
ing foe. The 7th Virginia regiment being in the advance made 
its deployment quickly, but not without serious loss from the 
enemy's fire, from which the regiment suffered in killed and 
wounded within a few minutes forty-seven men, of whom nine 
were killed and thirty-eight wounded. Colonel Early advanc- 
ed his regiments promptly against the enemy, who soon left 
the field in a panic, and were pursued as rapidly and as far as 
the broken down condition of the men would permit. The Fed- 
erals continued their retreat to the Potomac, and even beyond, 
some of them not stopping short of their homes; and thus the 
first "On to Richmond" was a disastrous failure. 

General Johnston had eluded Patterson in the Valley, and 
with the greater part of his forces had united with General 

18G1-1865 193 

teauregard's army in time to win the great victory at Ma- 

The loss in company D, the Giles company, of the 7th regi- 
lent was as follows, viz: Killed, Joseph E. Bane, Wounded, 
Robert H. Bane, A. L. Fry, Manilius S. Johnston, Charles N. 
. Lee, Henry Lewy, John P. Sublet, and Samuel B. Shannon. 

In a few days after this battle, the army moved forward to 
'airfax Court House, picketing along the Alexandria Leesburg 
nd other roads leading in the direction of Alexandria and 
Washington. Late in the fall the main body fell back to Cen- 
?rville and Bull Run, where it passed the winter. The 7th 
irginia regiment was separated from the 24th Virginia and 
th Louisiana, and added to another brigade which for a while 
^as commanded by Brigadier General Ewell, later by Briga- 
ier General Longstreet. In March, 1862, a brigade was formed 
f the first, 7th, 11th and 17th Virginia regiments, and placed 
nder the command of Brigadier General Ambrose Powell 


General Henry A. Wise, in the early summer of 1861, had en- 
ered the Valley of the Kanawha with a considerable number 
f Confederate troops, among them a considerable number of 
^ew River Valley men, and on the 7th day of July, 1861, had 
, successful fight at Scary Creek with the advanced troops of 
he Federal General Cox. Subsequently, in fact in a few days, 
leneral Wise being threatened by a force of Federal troops 
rom the upper Gauley section under the command of General 
losecrans, was forced to retire towards Lewisburg. About 
he middle of August, 1861, General John B. Floyd with a bri- 
gade arrived in the vicinity of Lewisburg, and he assumed com- 
uand of all the Confederate troops operating in that section, 
md about the movements of which more will be stated herein- 

In all revolutions excesses are committed, and the same was 
irue of our revolution in 1861. After the retreat of General 
Wise's forces from the Kanawha, a plain unlettered farmer of 
Mercer County, by the name of Parkinson F. Pennington, who 

194 New River Settlements 

resided on the waters of Laurel Creek, in August of the year 
mentioned, took his team and wagon loaded with produce, and 
went to the Valley of the Kanawha, and purchased goods, salt, 
etc., returning to his home, and known to be a strong Union 
man in sentiment, and freely expressing his views, made him- 
self quite obnoxious to some of his southern neighbors, and was 
arrested without warrant and charged with being a spy. The 
party arresting Pennington was headed by Captain James 
Thompson a strong resolute, bold southern man of quick tem- 
per, and when aroused became wholly unmanageable. Pen- 
nington's captors started with him to the Court House, and 
he on the way becoming very boisterous and insulting incensed 
the party that had him in charge, and they halted and put 
him to death by the road side, by hanging him by the neck, 
with a hickory withe, to a dog-wood tree that stood nearby. 
This was a very unfortunate affair for all the parties concern- 
ed, and the first act of the kind that had ever taken place in the 
County, and greatly shocked the community. Great regret was 
expressed by the people, as the act portended no good to the 
parties engaged nor to the southern cause. The civil authori- 
ties were powerless to punish the perpetrators, and the mili- 
tary would not. After the close of the war, the most of those 
engaged in hanging Pennington, except Captain Thompson,had 
either been lost in the war or left the country. Pennington's 
fatlier, with a body of eighteen United States soldiers went to 
the house of Captain Thompson intending to arrest him, but 
Captain Thompson discovering their approach attempted to 
escape, but was shot by one of the party and killed. 

Notwithstanding the apparent unanimity of sentiment 
among the people of Mercer County in favor of Southern rights 
and armed resistence to Federal attempt at coercion, there 
were quite a number of good men in the County opposed to the 
war, and who remained steadfast in their convictions for the 
Union throughout the conflict; amdng them, Colone/1 Thomas 
Little, George Evans, Andrew J. Thompson, John A. McKensey 
James Sarver, David Lilley, Sylvester Upton, Augustus W. 

1861-1865 195 

Cole, Augustus W. J. Caperton, James Bowling, William 
C. Honaker, W. J. Comer, Russell G. French, and many 
others. Some of these men, believing it unsafe to 
remain in the country, went within the lines of the Federal 
army, and there remained during the entire period of the war, 
others remained quietly at their homes, taking no part in the 
contest. There were a few, glad to say few, who enlisted in the 
Confederate army and then deserted to the enemy, and some of 
these became a set of outlaws, thieves and robbers, who respect- 
ed neither friend nor foe, and made incursions into the coun- 
try, plundering indiscriminately. 

The commands of Generals Wise and Floyd, being sorely 
pressed by the enemy, the militia brigades of General Alfred 
Beckley and Augustus A. Chapman were called into service in 
August, 1861, and sent to Cotton Hill, in Fayette County. A 
call had been made in the early part of the summer of 1861 for 
the services of the militia of the County of Mercer, and Colon- 
b1 Thomas Little, the then commandant thereof, declined, in 
fact refused to obey the call, and in a public meeting of the citi- 
zens held at Princeton he was fearfully denounced, and threat- 
ened with personal violence, so much so that he thought it 
prudent to immeliiately retire within the Federal lines. Th& 
Mercer and Giles regiments of militia, belonged to Chapman's 
brigade. The Giles regiment was commanded by Colonel 
James W. English with Samuel E. Lybrook and J. C. Snidow 
as Majors. The Mercer regiment was commanded by Lieuten- 
ant Colonel John S. Carr, with Harman White and W. R. Bail- 
ey as Majors. H. W. Straley was the brigade Commissary. 
The militia brigades were disbanded in the fall of 1861, and 
later in the same fall the troops of Wise and Floyd were with- 
drawn from the Gauley and New River section ; Wise going to 
the eastern coast of Virginia and North Carolina, and Floyd 
with his command, in which was the 36th Virginia regiment 
of infantry, composed in part of New River men, to Fort Don- 
elvson, Tennessee. 

During the winter and spring of 1861-2, the 8th Virginia 

196 Neav River Settlements 

regiment of cavalry under the command of Colonel Jenifer 
occupied the territory of Mercer County, as a corps of obser 
vation, with headquarters at Princeton. 

Before proceeding further with this narrative, it becomes im 
portant and interesting to relate what is transpiring during 
this period among the people of the northwestern Counties oi 
Virginia, who were so violently opposed to Secession. It is no1 
proposed to discuss the military side of this rather novel situa 
tion, but the civil. It is well known and need not here be re 
lated, that Federal troops had largely occupied all of the ter 
ritory of the northwestern counties north of the Kanawha, and 
mostly that west of the Alleghanies, in what is now the state 
of West Virginia. As already stated, that in the Secession 
Convention, which assembled at Richmond in February, 1861, 
a majority of the members from the northwestern Counties oi 
Virginia were earnestly, conscientiously and violently op 
posed to Secession and a number of them voted against the 
ordinance. These men returned to their respective constituen 
ces, and public meetings were held in many of the northwestern 
Counties for the purpose of determining what action should be 
taken by the people of these Counties. A large meeting of the 
people was held at Clarksburg on the 22ud of April, 1861, un- 
der the auspices of the Honorable John S. Carlisle, the late del- 
egate from that County to the convention. About twelve hun- 
dred people attended the meeting, and after reciting in a long 
preamble the means which had been resorted to by the Seces- 
sionists to transfer the state from its allegiance to the Federal 
Government to the Confederate states without the consent of 
the people, and reciting many other grievances, recommended 
to the people of all the counties composing northwestern Vir- 
ginia, to appoint not less than five delegates from each County 
to a convention to be held at Wheeling on the 13th day of May 
following, to consult and determine upon the course of action 
to be taken by the people of northwestern Virginia in the then 
fearful emergency. Delegates were accordingly selected from 
twenty-six counties, viz: Hancock, Brooke, Ohio, Marion, Mo- 

1881-1885 197 

nongalia, Preston, Wood, Lewis, Ritchie, Harrison, Upshur, 
Gilmer, Wirt, Jackson, Mason, Wetzel, Pleasants, Barbour, 
Hampshire, Berkeley, Doddridge, Tyler, Taylor, Roane, Freder- 
ick, and Marshall. 

The convention met on the 13th day of May, and was organ- 
ized by the election of John W. Moss as permanent president. 
A.fter a long and somewhat stormy session, this convention 
anded its work by recommending that in the event the ordi- 
Qance of secession should be ratified by the people, the Coun- 
ties there represented, and all others disposed to co-operate, 
ippoint on the 4th of June, 1861, delegates to a general conven- 
tion to meet on the 11th day of the same month at such place 
as should be designated by a committee to be afterwards ap- 
pointed by the convention. 

The convention was composed of about five hundred in num- 
ber, and from its close to the election which took place on the 
23rd of the same month, the country was in a feverish state of 
excitement. On election day the people voted for the members 
)f the House of Representatives to the Federal Congress from 
the three districts west of the Alleghanies, In twenty-five 
bounties, embracing a part of what is now West Virginia,there 
tvas a majority of over twenty-four thousand votes against the 
ordinance of Secession. There was great interest manifested in 
the coming election for delegates to the convention to be held 
3n the 11th day of June. The County committees ai)pointed 
persons to hold the election at the various precincts on the 4th 
3f June. There was a very full vote polled, and delegates from 
twenty-one counties were reported elected, which number was 
subsequently augmented to thirty-five. The delegates met in 
Washington Hall, in the city of Wheeling, on the 11th day of 
June, 1861, and elected Arthur I. Boreman, of Wood County, 
President of the convention. On the 19th day of June the con- 
vention passed an ordinance for the reorganization of the state 
Government of Virginia ; and on the following day elected the 
following officers : Francis H. Pierpont, of Marion, Governor, 
Daniel Polsley, of Mason, Lieutenant Governor, and James S. 

198 New River Settlements 

Wheat of Ohio, Attorney General. The General Assembly met 
in pursuance of the ordinance of the convention at Wheeling on 
the 1st day of July. The session was held at the custom house, 
where the Governor had already established his office, Dnd 
where the other officers of the Government were subsequently 
located. On the 9th of July the House on a joint vote elect- 
ed L. A. Hagans, of Preston, Secretary of the Commonwealth, 
Samuel Crane, of Randolph, Auditor of Public Accounts, and 
Campbell Tarr, of Brooke, Treasurer. On the same day John 
S. Carlisle and Waitman T. Willey were elected Senators to 
the Federal Congress. The convention was reinforced by the 
appearance of several members from the Kanawha Valley, 
which for some time previous thereto had been occupied by the 
Confederate Military forces. On the 20th of August the con- 
vention passed an ordinance providing for the formation of a 
new state out of a portion of the territory of the state of Vir- 
ginia, which included the Counties of Logan, Wyoming,Raleigh, 
Fayette, Nicholas, Webster, Randolph, Tucker, Preston, Mo- 
nongalia, Marion, Taylor, Barbour, Upshur, Harrison, Lewia, 
Braxton, Clay, Kanawha, Boone, Wayne, Cabell, Putnam, Ma- 
son, Jackson, Roane, Calhoun, Wirt, Gilmer, Ritchie, Wood, 
Pleasants, Tyler, Doddridge, Wetzel, Marshall, Ohio, Brooke, 
and Hancock; thirty-nine in all, and the convention was em- 
powered to change the boundaries so as to include the Counties 
of Greenbrier, Pocahontas, Hampshire, Hardy, Morgan, Jef- 
ferson, and Berkeley, or either of them, and also all the Coun- 
ties contiguous to the boundaries of the proposed state, or to 
the Counties just named, were to be added if the people there- 
of by majority of the votes given should express a desire to be 
included on the same day that the election was held in the oth- 
er Counties, and should elect delegates to the convention. 

Kanawha was proposed as the name for the new state, and 
the election was to be held on the fourth Thursday of October 
succeeding. Delegates to the convention were sent from all the 
foregoing enumerated Counties, except Webster and Berkeley 

The convention met on the 26th day of November. 1801, com- 

1861-1865 199 

pleted its labors, and adjourned on the 18th day of February, 
1862, providing for the submission of its work to the people 
on the 3rd day of April, 1862, and was accordingly voted upon 
on that day and adopted by a vote of 18,862 in its favor to 514 
against it. 

The Legislature of the reorganized Government assembled 
on the 6th day of May following, and gave its formal assent by 
the passage of a bill on the 13th of the same month, for the 
formation and erection of the state of West Virginia, within 
the jurisdiction of the state of Virginia. 

As has already been shown it was at first proposed to call the 
new state Kanawha, but the convention finally gave it the name 
of West Virginia. 

In the convention which framed this first constitution for 
the state of West Virginia, Captain Richard M. Cooke, of the 
County of Wyoming, was admitted as a delegate from Mercer 
County, by authority, as he claims, of a petition of a few peo- 
ple in the western portion of said County of Mercer. It is un- 
certain, under this first Constitution, how Mercer County be- 
came a constituent part of the state of West Virginia. Re- 
search does not disclose that any vote was taken whereby the 
people of the County elected, authorized or commissioned any 
person to represent them in the said convention. And it is 
further certain that no election was held in the County of Mer- 
cer by the people thereof upon the question of the ratification 
or rejection of the said Constitution, and hence it would seem 
to follow that Mercer County was not legally a part of, or one 
of the Counties of the state of West Virginia prior to the 
adoption of the Consitution of 1872. 

In the ordinance adopted by the reorganized Government of 
Virginia, giving consent to the formation of the new state, it 
was provided; "that the new state should take upon itself a 
just proportion of the public debt of the Commonwealth of Vir- 
ginia prior to the 1st day of January, 1861, to be ascertained by 
charging to it all state expenditures within its limits, and a 
just proportion of the ordinary expenses of the state Govern- 

200 New River Settlements 

ment since any part of it was contracted ; and deducting there- 
from the moneys paid into the treasury of the Commonwealth 
from the Counties included within the new state during the 
same period." This provision was duly assented to by the new 
state, and hence, the principle and basis upon which West Vir- 
ginia's part, part if any, of the anti-bellum debt of Virginia 
is to be ascertained, is fixed and determined. 

Francis H. Pierpont had been chosen as Governor of the re- 
organized government of Virginia, and Arthur I. Boreman as 
Governor of West Virginia, whose government went into oper- 
ation, on the 20th day of June,lS63,in accordance with the pro- 
clamation of the President of the United States, under an act 
of Congress authorizing the admission of the state into the Un- 
ion. Upon the admission of the new state, the reorganized 
Government of Virginia under Governor Pierpont removed 
from Wheeling to Alexandria, Virginia. During the existence 
of the reorganized government at Wheeling, the formative peri- 
od of the new state and afterwards, all kinds of excesses, po- 
litical, military or otherwise were perpetrated. The Virginia 
Government at Ridimond claimed and attempted to exercise 
jurisdiction over the same territory that the reorganized Gov- 
ernment at Wheeling and the new state claimed to exercise, 
and this led to the arrest of many citizens by both sides for al- 
leged political offenses, each government charging treason. It 
was more dangerous to life, liberty and property to live in the 
section refered to than to have been in the army of one or the 
the other of the belligerents. A peaceable non-combatant was 
liable at any hour night or day to be arrested, carried away 
and incarcerated in prison without any charges preferred 
against him, and worse than all, he was frequently allowed to 
lie in prison and perish without knowing with what offense he 
was charged, if any. In partial illustration of this statement 
it is stated that one Augustus Pack, of Boone County,an old 
man and a non-combatant, who carried on trade between the 
lines, was frequently arrested, first by one side and then by the 
other, and carried to military prison where he remained some 

1861-1865 201 

times for months, and then released upon taking the oath of 
allegience to the Government that had him a prisoner. Gener- 
al Cox, the Federal commandant in the Kanawha Valley, had 
had Mr. Pack so frequently before him that he had become 
very well acquainted with him, and so, as the story goes, on an 
occasion after Mr. Pack had been arrested by the Federal 
troops and was being carried to General Cox's headquarters, 
he was discovered by General Cox approaching his tent under 
guard, whereupon the General exclaimed, "Here you are again, 
Pack,"to which he replied,"Well, General, I am an old man and 
have nothing to do with the war, and try to remain at home a 
quiet, peaceable citizen, when along comes the Rebels who ar- 
rest and carry me within their lines and require me to take the 
oath of allegiance, and as soon as I return home I am picked up 
by your men and brought within your lines, and required to 
take the oath of allegiance, and this process has been going on 
for several months ; the truth is. General, that the foxes have 
holes and the birds of tlie air have nests, but as for me I have 
no^ where to lay my head." 

The Federal army of the Potomac under General George B. 
]\[cClellan, began in the early spring of 1862 its movement to 
the Peninsula, and General Johnston's army, which in the last 
days of March had retired from Centerville behind the Rappa- 
hanock, commenced moving by way of Gordonsville and Rich- 
mond to the Peninsula. The brigade of General A. P. Hill 
left Richmond by steamer on the James River on April 10th, 
and disembarked at King's landing and from thence marched 
to a point within one or two miles of Yorktown, where and in 
the vicinity of which, it remained for about twenty days en- 
gaged in picketing and drawn out in line of battle in the 
swamps. The 24th Virginia regiment remained attached to the 
brigade of General Early. 

During the last days of April or the first days of May, at any 
rate before marching orders were received, the "Wiseacres" 
were telling us that we were to retire towards Richmond. 

The Confederate Soldier was the most remarkable of all the 

202 New River Settlements 

soldiers that the world has produced, and that in many ways. 
He could seemingly know more, and in fact did, than the offi- 
cers in immediate command, and he could know less than any 
soldier in an army when he wanted it that Avay — or when so 
instructed, or when he found it necessary for his convenience 
or profit, he could forget his name, company, regiment, bri- 
gade, division or army commandant; could even forget where 
he was from or whither he was going. This same soldier could 
get farther from camp, get more rations, and get back quicker 
than any other fellow you ever met. When he was marching he 
could see more, laugh louder, brood less over his troubles, and 
when he wished, could carry more than any soldier any 
other arm}' ever produced. He could march barefoot, go farther, 
complain less, eat nothing, never sleep, and endure more gen- 
uine suffering than any soldier that ever marched under the 
banners of Napoleon. When he reached camp after a long, toil- 
some march he could start a fire, find water, and go to cooking 
quicker tlian the best trained cook in the land. Such were 
these men who were being trained by the Lees, Johnstons, Long- 
street, Jackson, Pickett and the Hills. 

Before passing to the description of the retreat of the Con- 
federates from Yorktown, it will be noticed that in the fall of 
18G1 General Jackson with his division had marched from the 
lines in front of Washington to the Valley of Virginia ; where, 
the next spring, the most wonderful military campaign in re- 
corded history was conducted and directed by him, in which 
he defeated three Federal armies in succession, and then in 
June of that year stole away from his enemies and helped to de- 
feat the fourth one. 

In tlie month of January, 1862, the McComas Battery had 
gone with the Wise Legion to Norfolk, and was to have been 
sent from there with the command of General Wise to Roanoke 
Island, but owing to want of transportation, only a part of the 
company reached the Island. Those of the company who 
crossed over to the Island, together witli Captain Dorman's 

1861-1865 203 

Mercer company, were captured, along with the other Confed- 
erate troops thereon. 

In the month of March this battery, under the command of 
its Captain, left Norfolk and went to Elizabeth City,North Car- 
olina, near where, shortly after its arrival, it engaged without 
loss in an artillery duel with the enemy. A short time there- 
after the company marched with the 3rd Georgia regiment of 
infantry, under the command of Colonel Wright,t() the vicinity 
of South Mills, North Carolina, where on the 19th day of April 
it was engaged in a severe battle with the enemy, in which its 
gallant Captain was slain while behaving in the bravest man- 
ner. Sergeant James M. Peters, and Privates Oscar Blanken- 
ship and William Hern were wounded. 

The Federal troops 3,000 strong, with four pieces of artil- 
lery, led by General Reno, attacked Colohel Wright's troops, 
composed of the 3rd Georgia infantry 585 strong, some North 
Carolina militia, Gillett's company of Southampton cavalry, 
and McComas' Battery of four guns; the whole Confederate 
force not exceeding 750 men. The fight lasted for three hours. 
Mr. D. H. Hill, Jr., in his Military History of North Carolina, 
in reporting this engagement says : "At last McComas, who had 
fought his guns manfully, was killed, and Colonel Wright fell 
back a mile to his supports. General Reno did not attempt to 
follow, and that night at 10 o'clock left his dead and wounded 
behind, and made a forced march to his boats." 

The Confederates lost 6 killed 19 wounded, the Federals 13 
killed and 92 wounded. Captain McComas informed one of 
his company on the night preceeding this battle that he had or- 
ders to return with his company to western Virginia, but that 
he did not want to go until he had fought at least one battle. 

This company, after the capture of Norfolk by the enemy, 
under the leadership of its First Lieutenant, David A. French, 
marched to Petersburg. Its subsequent history will be stated 

In December, 1861, the 60th Virginia regiment of infantry 
commanded by Colonel William E. Starke, in which were the 

204 New Eiver Settlements 

Mercer Companies of I'ack and Ryan, was ordered and went 
to South Carolina where it remained under the command of 
General Robert E. Lee until it returned to Virginia about the 
last daj's of April, 1862, and was then attached to the brigade 
commanded by General Charles W. Field of A. P. Hill's div- 

On the evening and night of the 4th of May, 1 862, General 
Johnston quietly withdrew his army from the Yorktown in- 
trenchments and hastened up the Peninsula as rapidly as the 
condition of the roads would permit. The Federal gunboats 
were passing up the James and York Rivers with an army 
corps on transports on the latter, having in view the cutting 
of General Johnston's line of retreat. 

The enemy pressed so hard and closely upon General John- 
ston's rear that in order to protect his trains he was forced to 
halt and offer battle. The Divisions of Longstreet and D. H. 
Hill were covering the retreat, and upon them fell the brunt of 
the battle which followed. The rear of the army had reached 
Williamsburg, twelve miles distant from the starting point 
about daylight on the morning of the 5th, amidst a drizzling 

The skirmishing began at early dawn, and grew fiercer as the 
morning wore away; so that by high noon it had drifted into 
regular volleys. 

The brigade of General A. P. Hill, in which was the 7th Vir- 
ginia regiment of infantry, passed from the grounds of the 
Eastern Lunatic Asylum, where it had encamped two hours 
previous, by William and Mary College to a point near Fort 
Magruder, and then by a flank movement to the right for a half 
mile or more, was brought face to face with the enemy, who 
were in line of battle in a wood, Hill's brigade being in an open 
field where it received a volley from the enemy which killed and 
wounded many men. The brigade ])ushed forward into the wood, 
getting close up to the enemy, and fired into them a destructive 
volley, and then charged, driving them rapidly for more than a 
quarter of a mile, when it met a fresh line of the enemy lying 

1861-1865 205 

down behind fallen timber. Here the battle raged for more 
than two hours, and until the men had exhausted nearly every 
round of ammunition ; whereupon General Hill ordered another 
charge, and the enemy was driven for some distance through 
and beyond this fallen timber. It was now growing dark, the 
brigade halted and returned to the position from which it had 
started in the charge, and where it remained for an hour or 
more after dark, and then resumed its line of march. 

The loss sustained in the 7th Virginia regiment was 77, and 
in company D., the Giles Company the loss was as follows, viz : 
killed, William H. Stafford, wounded. Lieutenant E. M. Stone, 
and the following men of the line, Allen M. Bane, Charles Wes- 
ley Peck, Andrew J. Thompson, John A. Hale, John W. East, 
Isaac Hare, George Knoll, Anderson Meadows, John Meadows, 
Demascus Sarver, William I. Wilburn, Edward Z. Yager, and 
David E. Johnston, a total of fourteen killed and wounded, be- 
ing about 25 per cent, of the number carried into action. Tap- 
ley P.Mays, of this company, was the color Sergeant of the reg- 
iment, and although he escaped unhurt, the flag which he bore 
was pierced with 23 balls and the staff severed three times. For 
his gallantry in this action Sergeant Mays was awarded a 
sword by the Governor of Virginia. 

On the evening of the same day General Early led two regi- 
ments of his brigade, the 5th North Carolina and 24th Vir- 
ginia regiments, against a fort held by General Hancock's Fed- 
eral brigade. While General Early's men fought with great 
steadiness and bravery, they were forced to retire with the loss 
of 190 men killed, wounded and prisoners. General Early 
was among the severely wounded; as was also Colonel Wil- 
liam R. Terry and Lieutenant Colonel Peter Hairston. The 
killed and wounded in Captain Richardson's Mercer Company 
G, 24th Virginia regiment were as follows: Killed, Isaac Al- 
vis, Edward Bailey, John A. Brown, John Easter, and Tobias 
Manning, and the wounded were Alexander East, James H. 
Mills, lost an arm, Stephen Prillman, Rufus G. Rowland, Gor- 
don L. Saunders, lost a leg, and A .J. Whittaker, Robert 

206 New Riveu Settlements . 

Batchelor, Granvil F. Bailey, William Bowling, Jesse Bow- 
ling, L, A. Cooper, Jordan Cox, Marshall Foley, John M. N. 
Flick, Peter Grim, James T. Hopkins, Dennis Johnson, Addi- 
son Johnson, Isaac A. Oney, Theaddeus Peters, John M. Smith, 
Allen Smith, William Stewart and George W. Toney were 
captured, a total of twenty nine. 

As already related, the company of Captain Napoleon B. 
French, of Mercer, had gone with General Floyd's command 
to Fort Donelson, where it was engaged in the battle of the 
13th day of February, 1862, losing William Oney killed by a 
shell from one of the enemy's guns, and the whole company 
with the other troops, except Floyd's brigade and Forrest's 
cavalry regiment, were surrendered as prisoners of war. Cap- 
tain French being absent in Virginia, the command of the 
company had devolved upon Lieutenant John J. Maitland. 

Later in the year of 1862, the company of Dorman, captured 
at Roanoke Island, and that of French, surrendered at Fort 
Donelson, were exchanged and returned home. The time of 
their enlistment having expired, they went into other organ- 
izations, a portion going to Captain Jacob C. Straley's com- 
pany of the 17th Virginia Cavalry regiment, another portion 
to Edgar's battalion of Virginia infantry, and another por- 
tion to the 30th battalion of Virginia infantry commanded 
by Colonel Clark, attached for part of the time to the bri- 
gades of Echols or Wharton. 

Captain William H. French having been commissioned Col- 
onel of the 17th Virginia regiment of cavalry, was energetic- 
ally at work during the early spring and early summer months 
of 1862, in getting together and organizing his regi- 
ment, which participated in many of the expeditions and skir- 
mishes along the outposts in Western Virginia up to the date 
of the advance of the Federal army of General Crook from the 
Kanawha Valley in May, 1864, when this regiment with others 
of Jenkins' cavalry brigade and the troops of Colonel William 
L. Jackson, under Colonel French, were stationed at the nar- 
rows of New River in Giles County to guard that point, and 

1861-1865 207 

to meet the forces of General Crook, should they move by that 
route, of which full statement will be made hereinafter. 

General Johnston's army, after defeating the Federals at 
Williamsburg and at White House on the York River, retired 
behind the Chickahominy. 

By the middle of May and first of June the army of General 
McClellan had made its approach very near to Richmond, and 
had extended its right wing far up in the direction of the Vir- 
ginia Central Railroad, leaving its left wing across the Chick- 
ahominy in front of Richmond. Brigadier General A. P. Hill 
had been promoted to Major General, and given the command 
of a Division, which included Field's brigade, to which was at- 
tached to the 60th regiment of Virginia infantry. 

Upon the promotion of General Hill to the command of a 
Division, Colonel James L. Kemper, of the 7th Virginia regi- 
ment, had been commissioned a Brigadier General, and assign- 
ed to the brigade previously commanded by Hill. 

For some time previous to and on the night of the 30th day 
of May, 1862, Kemper's brigade had been in camp at Howard's 
Grove, a few miles north of Richmond. On the night of the 
30th occurred a most remarkable electric storm, accompanied 
by an exceeding heavy downpour of rain, which continued 
for many hours during the night, and so flooding our camp 
that we were compelled to stand on our feet in our tents dur- 
ing the long hours before the coming of daylight. This rain- 
fall had flooded the low lands of the Chickahominv, and 
caused such a rapid rise in that stream as to carry away or 
flood the bridges over the same, whereby General John- 
ston was led to attack the Federal troops then occupying the 
bank of that stream on the side next to Richmond. The Di- 
visions of Longstreet and D. H. Hill marched at an early hour 
on the morning of the 31st, encountering on the way to the 
battlefield streams so swollen as to greatly delay and impede 
the march. The 7th Virginia regiment with Kemper's brigade 
belonged to Longstreet's Division. The 24th Virginia regiment 
to Garland's brigade of Hill's Division. The former mention- 

208 New River Settlements 

ed Division marched down the White Oak swamp road, the 
latter down the AVilliamsburg road. Hill opened the battle a 
little after noon, and while it raged with great fury, the sound 
thereof, which was to be the signal for Long-street's attack, 
was not heard by him for some time, on account of the condi- 
tion of the atmosphere, although he was scarcely two miles 
away. Finally, General Hill requested assistance, and Kemp- 
er's brigade was sent him. This brigade moved rapidly 
through swamps, water and mud until it reached the field of 
Hill's contention on the Williamsburg road, when about four 
o'clock,P.M.,it advanced in good order against the earthworks 
thrown up by the command of the Federal General Casey, and 
after a stubborn contest of a little more than half an hour it 
charged and carried the works, capturing the enemy's camp 
and a number of prisoners. The loss in company D, of the 
7th regiment was A. D. Manning, killed ; Serjeant Elijah R. 
Walker, privates Tarvis Burton, John W. Hight and Joseph 
Lewy wounded. The total regimental loss was about 75. 

The 24th Virginia regiment was in this battle in the brigade 
of General Garland and suffered a loss of one hundred and 
seventeen killed and wounded, among them its Major, Richard 
L. Maury, who was severely wounded. The x^Iercer company 
loosing G. H. Gore, killed, George P. Belcher, Hugh M. Faulk- 
ner, William H. Herndon, George A. Harris and Luther C. 
Hale wounded. 

On the evening and night of the day after this battle the 
troops returned to their former camps, wherein they for the 
most part remained until the opening of the "Seven Days Bat- 

In the interim between the close of the battle of Seven Pines, 
which has just been referred to, and the opening of the "Seven 
Days Battles," the 24tli Virginia had been detached from Gar- 
land's brigade, and attached to that of Kemper, now composed 
of the 1st, 7th, 11th, 17th, and 24th Virginia regiments. 

General Branch, of North Carolina, with a brigade of North 
Carolina troops and some others, was fiercely attacked on the 

1861-1865 209 

i6th of June near Mechanicsville by a superior force of Feder- 
il troops under General Porter, and Branch defeated with se- 
'ious loss, though after a brave and gallant defense on his part 
md that of his men. General A. P. Hill going to the support 
)f Branch, and advancing with the remainder of his division, 
mjjported by Ripley's brigade, struck the Federals at Beaver 
Dam, and a bloody engagement followed lasting far into the 
light of the 26th, without any particular advantage to the 

General Jackson, with his corps, having arrived from the 
Galley, joined Hill's left and swinging around the Federal 
'ight compelled General Porter to withdraw and retire to Cold 
Elarbor, where he occupied an exceedingly strong position, but 
I'rom which he was driven with heavv loss on the 27th, as here- 
inafter related. 

The movement of the troops of Hill and Jackson had uncov- 
ered the front of General Longstreet's Division on the Mechan- 
icsville Road, and he immediately crossed the Chickahominy 
and set out in pursuit of the retreating enemy, passing on the 
route immense piles of bacon, flour, wagons, tents, etc., which 
the Federals had sought to destroy to prevent them from fall- 
ing into the hands of the Confederates. 

About noon or a little past on the 27th, the head of Long- 
street's column reached the New bridge, in the vicinity 
of Cold Harbor or Gaines' Mill, where it halted and formed a 
line of battle behind a long range of hills, which hid it from 
the enemy's view. The enemy occupied a strong position be- 
hind a small creek on a range of hills in part fringed with 
timber. In front of the position of the enemy was a deep ra- 
vine, through which flowed a small branch or creek, this ra- 
vine he filled with his sharpshooters, and in his rear was a 
wooded bluff on the side of which was a line of infantry pro- 
tected by log breastworks. Behind this line was another line 
of infantry, sheltered by the crest of the hill, and the high 
ground behind them crowned with artillery. To reach the po- 

210 New River Settlements 

sition of the enemy, the Confederates must pass over an open 
space of some five hundred yards. 

Kemper's brigade was in line of battle behind the crest of a 
low ridge, and behind the brigades of Wilcox, Pry or, Pickett, 
and Featherstone. The battle raged for hours with great fury ; 
more than once was the charge repeated before the enemy's po- 
sition was carried. Kemper's brigade was not engaged, though 
exposed to the fire of shot and shell, but suffering little loss. 
The field had been won, and the day was ours. 

In this terrific engagement, as well as that of the day before, 
the 60th Virginia regiment was a participant, and suffered se- 
vere loss, its Colonel Starke being wounded in the engage- 
ment of the 26th, and the two Mercer Companies of Ryan and 
Pack losing a considerable number of men in killed and 
wounded. Colonel Starke in his report of the engagement of 
the 26th, says : "Our loss here was considerable. Lieutenant S. 
Lilley of Company I, Ryan's Company, being killed. Captain 
John L. Caynor and Lieutenant P. M. Paxton of Company F, 
and Lieutenant S. D. Pack of Company A, being wounded, and 
many privates both killed and wounded. On the next day, the 
27th, this regiment was again engaged, repelling a cavalry 
charge of the enemy, and losing many valuable officers and 
men. Colonel Starke, in commending its conduct and that of 
its officers refers specially and by name to Lieutenant Colonel 
B. H.Jones, Major John C. Summers, Captain John M. Bailey, 
and Lieutenants R. A. Hale and George W. Belcher, the three 
last named Mercer County men, of Company H, and Lieuten- 
ants A. G. P. George, Stephenson, and Lilley, the latter killed 
the day before, and adds: "I desire to notice particularly the 
good conduct of Lieutenant A. G. P. George, not only through 
out all the engagements in which the regiment participated, 
but for months past while in charge of Company I,in faithfully 
discharging the responsible duties of his position * * * the high- 
est terms of praise apply with equal justice to Lieutenant R. A. 
Hale * * * upon whom owing to the wounds or sickness of his 

1861-1865 211 

Captain in particular engagements devolved the command of 
the company." 

The enemy having been driven from the field of Gaines' Mill 
with a loss of 6,837 men, retreated on the night of the 27th 
across the Chickahominy, followed on the next and two suc- 
ceeding days to Frazier's Farm, where the divisions of Long- 
street and A. P. Hill had with almost the entire Federal army, 
a more than four hours bloody engagement, without decided 
results to either army. In this battle the brigade of General 
Kemper, together with that of General Field, was heavily en- 
gaged; the former brigade constituted the extreme right of 
the general line of battle, and was posted upon the rear edge of 
a dense body of timber and on the right of and nearly perpen- 
dicular to the road leading through Frazier's Farm, with the 
17th Virginia regiment, under Colonel Montgomery Corse, oc- 
cupying the right; the 24th Virginia under Lieutenant Colonel 
Peter Hairston the left; the 1st Virginia regiment under Ma- 
jor George F. Norton in the center; the 11th Virginia regiment 
Captain Kirkwood Otey the right center, and the 7th Virginia 
regiment under Colonel Walter Tazewell Patton the left cen- 
ter. After suffering from a severe shelling for some time,about 
5 o'clock P. M., the order to move forward came, and the bri- 
gade advanced steadily and in good order, notwithstanding the 
entangled undergrowth which filled the wood, and the raining 
of shot and shell from the enemy's guns directly in front of the 
moving column. Upon striking the enemy's skirmish line, the 
advance from a quickstep into a double-quick followed, with 
loud cheers, and by the time the brigade had cleared the wood 
and reached an open field at the farther side of which stood the 
enemy in full line of battle behind log breastworks with their 
batteries beside them and firing rapidly, the continuity of the 
line was lost and much confusion followed, but the impetuos- 
ity of the forward movement was not broken, and the brigade 
fired rapidly, and throwing itself upon the enemy's infantry 
and artillery swept them away like chaff before a hurricane. 
General Kemper says in his oflScial report of this charge : "A 

212 New River Settlements 

more impetuous and desperate charge was never made than 
that of my small command against the sheltered and greatly 
superior forces of the enemy. The ground which they gained 
from the enemy is marked by the graves of some of my Veter- 
ans, who were buried where they fell ; and these graves marked 
with the names of the occupants, situated at and near the posi- 
tion of the enemy, shoAV the point at which they dashed at the 
strong holds of the retreating foe." Continuing, General Kem- 
per says: ''It now became evident that the position sought to 
be held by my command was wholly untenable by them, unless 
largely and immediately reinforced. The inferior numbers 
which had alarmed the enemy and driven him from his breast- 
works and batteries soon became apparent to him, and he at 
once proceeded to make use of his advantage. While greatly 
superior numbers hung upon our front, considerable bodies 
of the enemy were thrown upon both flanks of my command, 
which was now in imminent danger of being wholly captured 
or destroyed * * * no reinforcements appeared and the dire al- 
ternative of withdrawing from the position, although of obvi- 
ous and inevitable necessity, was reluctantly submitted to." 
Again, says the report: "Among those reported to me as de- 
serving notice for gallantry on the field are Captain Joel 
Blackard, Company D, and Lieutenant W. W. Gooding, 7th 
Virginia, who were both killed, Sergeant Major Tansill and 
Color Sergeant Mays, the latter of Company D, both wounded, 
and both of whom had distinguished themselves in the battles 
of Williamsburg and Seven Pines, Lieutenant Calfee of Com- 
pany G, Mercer County, 21:th Virginia, who was killed within 
a few paces of the enemy's battery." 

The Federal General McCall, who was captured in this 
battle, says of this charge: "Soon after this a most determined 
charge was made on Randall's battery, by a full brigade, ad- 
vancing in wedge shape without order, but in perfect reckless- 
ness ; somewhat similar charges had as I have stated, been pre* 
viously made on Cooper's and Kern's batteries by single regi- 
ments without success, they having recoiled before the storm of 

1861-1865 213: 

canister hurled against them. A like result was anticipated by 
Randall's battery, its gallant commander did not doubt his 
ability to repel the attack, and his guns did indeed mow down 
the andvancing host, but still the gaps were closed and the ene- 
my came in upon a run to the very muzzle of his guns. It was a 
perfect torrent of men, and they were in his battery before the 
guns could be removed." 

General Kemper had ordered his brigade to retire, which it 
did, but not in good order, but soon railed again near the spot 
from which it had made the charge. The loss of the brigade was 
414, of which 44 were killed, 205 wounded, and 165 missing; of 
which the 7th Virginia regiment lost in killed 14, wounded 66, 
missing. The 24th Virginia regiment lost 4 killed, 61 wound- 
ed and 14 missing. The loss in Company D, 7th Virginia regi- 
ment were killed. Captain Joel Blackard, wounded Joseph C. 
Shannon, Daniel Bish, Jesse B. Young, David C. Akers, Hugh 
J. Wilburn, Tim P. Darr, Francis M. Gordon, George A. Min- 
nich, T. P. Mays, John W. Sarver, Joseph Southron, Ballard 
P. Meadows, Lee E. Vass and Joseph Eggleston, and Allen M. 
Bane captured ; total killed, wounded and missing 16. The loss 
in Company G, Mercer Company, 24th Virginia was, killed, 
Lieutenant Harvey M. Calfee, wounded Thomas C. Brown, lost 
a leg, John Coebum, A. J. Holstein, Jeff Thomas, lost a leg, 
and Lieutenant Benjamin P. Grigsby. 

The 60th Virginia regiment, with its brigade and divi- 
sion, had a most distinguished part in this battle. Among oth- 
er things stated by Colonel Starke in his official report of 
this battle, are the following: '^On Monday evening the 30th, 
June, we were ordered to the support of General Kemper's 
brigade then engaged near Frazier's Farm with an overwhelm- 
ing force of the enemy. The regiment advanced at a double 
quick nearly two miles to the broAV of the hill where a battery 
of eight guns, Randall's Pennsylvania battery, was posted, 
which had been taken from the enemy and by them recaptured 
before we reached the ground. Delivering a few volleys, the 
regiment moved forward, charged the enemy, drove them into 

214 New River Settlements 

and through the woods for a considerable distance, killing 
wounding and taking many of them prisoners, and recapturing 
the battery. On reaching the wood, however, the enemy poured 
a heavy tire into our line, upon which the command was given 
to charge bayonets. This command was obeyed with alacrity, 
and very many of the enemy fell before the formidable weapon. 
I cannot close this report without noticing the conduct of Pri- 
vates George R. Taylor of Company E, and Robert A. Christian 
of Company I. Private Christian in the bayonet charge of the 
30th was assailed by no leas than four of the enemy at the 
same time. He succeeded in killing three of them with his 
own hands, though wounded in several places by bayonet 
thrusts, and his brother Eli W. Christian going to his aid dis- 
patched the fourth." Both Robert A. and Eli W. Christian 
belonged to Ryan's Mercer company. We again quote from 
the report of the Federal General McCall, in which he says: 
"It was here my fortune to witness one of the fiercest bayonet 
fights that perhaps ever occurred on this continent. Bayonet 
wounds, mortal or slight, were given and received. I saw 
skulls crushed by the butts of muskets, and every effort made 
by either party in his life or death struggle, proving indeed 
that here Greek had met Greek." The total loss of the 60th 
Virginia regiment in the engagements of the 26th, 27th and 
30th day of June was 204. It is regretted that the names in 
full of the killed and wounded in the two Mercer companies of 
the 60th regiment cannot be given further than already men- 
tioned, and to add to the list of the wounded Washington 
Hodges, Rufus McComas and Wesley Dillon, the latter mor- 
tally. In the headlong charge of the 60th Virginia regiment on 
June 30th, and as it reached the log breastworks of the enemy, 
John Hartwell, of Pack's Mercer Company, a man of about six 
feet six inches high, raw boned, big footed, clumsy and awk- 
ward, caught his foot in getting over the works and fell head- 
long over and among the enemy, exclaiming as he fell, "Get 
out of here, you d d Yankees, or we will kill the last one of 

1861-1865 215 

you." John got out safe and all of the enemy not killed, 
wounded or captured, took John at his word and ran away. 

On the next day, July 1st, the battle of Malvern Hill was 
fought, but neither Kemper's nor Field's brigades were engag- 
ed, though drawn up close to the firing line as supports and sub- 
jected to a severe shelling from the enemy's batteries in front 
and his gunboats in the river. On the night of the first the 
enemy withdrew from the Confederate front, and retired to a 
strong position at Harrison's Landing under the cover and pro- 
tection of his gunboats; and thus ended the second "On to 
Richmond," and the Confederates returned to the vicinity of 
Richmond and went into camp. 

The McComas Battery, now commanded by Captain David 
A. French, had been brought from Petersburg to the north of 
the James and was in position on the Confederate right at the 
battle of Seven Pines, and during the Seven Days Battles, but 
was not engaged. After the battle of Malvern Hill it was sent 
with some infantry down to Turkey Island on the James, and 
later to a position in front of Harrison's Landing. During the 
campaign of 1862 in Northern Virginia and Maryland, it re- 
mained as part of the forces left to guard the defenses of 

A few weeks after the close of the battle around Richmond, 
August 5th, the 60th Virginia regiment was ordered to join 
General Loring in western Virginia. Captain William H. 
French, as senior Captain, with several companies of cavalry, 
also joined General Loring in his Kanawha Valley campaign. 

It now becomes necessary at this place to relate some of the 
incidents occurring in western Virginia. As has been related, 
in the summer of 1861, the Federal troops had advanced to Ka- 
nawha Falls and Gauley Bridge, General Wise retiring to the 
Big Sewell Mountain and Hawks Nest district of country, and 
General Floyd marching out from Lewisburg to reinforce him 
and to oppose the Federal advance. After some severe skirm- 
ishing by the troops of Wise with the Federal advance, and 
some maneuvering on the part of both armies, General Floyd 

216 New River Settlements 

advanced to Cross Lanes, in the county of Nicholas, where, on 
the 26th day of August, 1862, he had a severe combat with the 
Federal troos, whom he routed. General Floyd after the bat- 
tle at Cross Lanes fell back to Carnifix Ferry on the Gauley 
and fortified his position, which was fiercely assailed by Fed- 
eral troops under General Rosecrans on the 10th day of Sep- 
tember, but they were finally beaten ofif, Floyd holding his po- 
sition until after nightfall and then retreating. In this en- 
gagement the Federals outnumbered the Confederates about 
three to one. These incidents are merely mentioned because 
some of the companies from the New River Valley were in the 
commands of Generals Floyd and Wise. 

After the withdrawal, in the fall of 1861, of the troops of Gen- 
erals Floyd and Wise from the Kanawha District, and the dis- 
banding of the militia brigades of Generals Beckley and Chap- 
man, the Federal troops under General Jacob D. Cox ad- 
vanced and occupied Fayetteville, the County town of Fayette 
County,and later Beckl'ey, the County town of Raleigh County 
at which latter place on the 22nd day of April, 1862, Colonel 
E. P. Scammon reports Colonel Thomas Little and W. J. Com- 
er as having arrived that evening from Princeton, and who 
gave as far as they knew statements of Confederate forces, etc., 
and adds, "Colonel Little confirms reports of intende:! destruc- 
tion of town and county property." In the last days of April 
the Federal advance reached Flat Top Mountain and encamp- 
ed at what is known as the ]Miller Tanyard, place on the turn- 
pike road about two miles south of the main top of the moun- 
tain. At this time the only Confederate troops in the County 
of Mercer were the small cavalry forces of Colonel Jenifer act- 
ing as a mere corps of observation, and the independent com- 
pany of Captain Richard B. Foley known as "Flat Top Cop- 
perheads." Foley was on the extreme outposts next the enemy, 
and in fact was the eyes and ears for Jenifer's command. 

General Cox's command consisted of two brigades of infan- 
try ; the first commanded by Colonel E. P. Scammon, made up 
of the 23rd, 30th and 12th Ohio infantry regiments and Mc- 

1861-1865 217 

Mullen's battery; the second brigade under Colonel A. Moor 
composed of the 28th,34th and 37th Ohio regiments of infantry 
and Simmond's battery, also one battalion of Colonel Boler's 
second Virginia cavalry, and Smith's Ohio cavalry troop, with 
a train of 250 wagons. 

On the last day of April the Federals had thrown forward, 
under Lieutenant Botsford, some seventy-five men of the 23rd 
Ohio regiment, who on the night of that day occupied the dwel- 
ling house of Henry Clark, which is situated on the west side 
of the Wythe, Kaleigh and Grayson turnpike road, about eight 
miles from Princeton, Russell G. French acted as guide, as 
he was thoroughly familiar with the country, his home being in 
that neighborhood. Foley and his men, who were on the alert 
and hovering around the enemy's camp, discovering the least 
movement on their part, determined on an attack on the Fed- 
eral outpost at Clark's house. Lieutenant Botsford and his men 
had scouted all day of the 30th of April in search of Foley and 
his men, but were unable to find them; had even gone to Cap- 
tain Foley's home and throughout the neighborhood on and 
along the waters of Camp Creek. They did not see Foley, but 
he saw them, and when late in the evening tired, and worn by 
their days tramp, they returned by way of Campbell's Mill and 
on the turnpike road at Clark's house they determined to camp 
for the night. Captain Foley immediately dispatched messen- 
gers to Confederate headquarters at Princeton advising of the 
situation, and an attack was determined upon. And so on that 
night Major Henry Fitzhugh, of Kanawha, with the border 
Rangers, Captain Everett, Kanawha Rangers, Captain Lewis, 
Mercer cavalry, Captain W.H. French, Lieutenant Graybeal in 
command, Tazewell troopers. Captain Thomas Bowen, Bland 
Rangers, Captain William N. Harman, Grayson cavalry. Cap- 
tain Boring, Nelson Rangers, Captain Fitzpatrick and Captain 
R. B. Foley's independent company of infantry, moved out to 
Clark's house reaching there a short while before daylight on 
May 1st, and took position near the house, some of the compa- 
nies not fully up. Mr. Clark was an ardent southern man, and 

218 New River Settlements 

had been compelled to quit his home to keep out of the way of 
the Federals, but his brave and heroic wife with her small son 
and daughter remained at home and braved the storm of bat- 
tle that raged furiously around her for nearly an hour. Mrs 
Clark whose maiden name was Mize, was born and raised in 
Patrick County, Virginia, and was a woman of strong natural 
sense, and in her undying devotion to the southern people and 
tlieir cause, she was excelled by no woman in the south. She 
lived to a ripe old age, and died an unrepentant, unrecon- 
structed, Confederate. It may well be said of her as Whittier, 
the poet, said of Randolph : 

"Too honest and too proud to feign 

A love she never cherished, 
Beyond Virginia's border line 

Her patriotism perished." 

At dawn on the 1st day of May the Federals came out of the 
house into the yard and fell into line for rollcall, apparently 
little suspecting that a lurking foe was so close at hand. The 
Confederates, that is Foley's, Harman's,Bowen's and French's 
companies now in position, immediately opened fire, the ene- 
my rushing quickly into the house, which is of hewn oak logs 
— equal to a block house, a secure fortress against rifle balls. 
The house as it then existed, since removed, was only one and 
one half stories high and had a rather flat roof covered with 
chestnut shingles. The position occupied by a portion of the 
Confederates was on high ground above the house, the Fed- 
erals occupying the second floor of the house and were exposed 
to the balls fired by the Confederates into and through the 
roof, and it was chiefly from these balls that the Federals suf- 
fered loss. It has already been stated that four of the Con- 
federate companies had taken their position before the firing 
began, but in point of fact this is not strictly correct. Foley's 
company was tlie only one in proper position, the others 
were moving to position and the remaining companies had not 
all gotten up. The intention of the Confederates was to sur- 
round the house, and compel the surrender of the Federal 

CLARK'S HOUSE, Mercer County. W. Va. 

Where engagfement on May 1st, 1862, was fought between a Confederate 
force under Major Henry Fitzhugh, of Kanawha, and a portion of the Federal 
forces of Gen'l Jacob D. Cox, of Ohio, 

1861-1865 219 

troops that had taken shelter therein, but the unexpected ap- 
pearance of the enemy in the yard for rollcall prematurely 
precipitated the opening of the fight. The soldiers in the house 
displaced the filling between the logs, and utilized the space 
for placing their guns therein to fire, their bodies being in a 
great measure protected by the walls of the house. The Fed- 
erals boldly and bravely maintained the fight, and just as Ma- 
jor Fitzhugh had given the order to surround and charge the 
house, the head of a column of Federal reinforcements came in 
sight and immediately opened fire, advancing rapidly at a dou- 
ble quick, their cavalry at full speed. The Confederates were 
now greatly outnumbered, they beat a hasty retreat closely 
followed by the whole of General Cox's forces. The loss on 
the Confederate side was only eight wounded, viz: Captain 
R. B. Foley, James H. Fletcher, James Butler, Hugh Farmer, 
and Alexander Miller, severely, and Greene Bryson, and Mont- 
gomery Cox, mortally. Fletcher and Butler belonged to the 
Mercer Cavalry, Cox to the Tazewell Troopers, Bryson and 
Farmer to Foley's Company, and Miller to Harman's Bland 
Company. The Federal loss was 20, one killed and 19 wound- 
ed, among the latter, Russell G. French. Colonel R. B. Hayes, 
of the 23rd Ohio regiment, reporting this engagement to Col- 
onel E. P. Scammon, mentions Mr. French and says: "French 
will perhaps be crippled for life, probably die; can't he be put 
in the position of a soldier enlisted or something to get his 
family the pension land, etc.? What can be done? He was a 
scout in our uniform on duty at the time of receiving his 
wound." French lived until recently, having died in Mercer 
County at the age of about eighty seven years. He was a great 
sufferer from the wound he received. He lived in Mercer County 
at the beginning of the war, and was on principle opposed to 
the war, and became an earnest, zealous, conscientious Union 
man. During the retreat of the Confederates from Clark's 
house to Princeton, Cornelius Brown, an independent Confed- 
erate volunteer and a Mercer County man, was killed on Camp 
Creek, near the house formerly owned and occupied by Captain 

220 New Kiver Settlements 

Thomas J. George. The retreat which was continued through 
Princeton to Rock? Gap and beyond, was covered by the Bland 
Rangers, commanded by Captain William H, Harman, and 
well and gallantly did this devoted body of men and officers 
perform this service. 

As before stated. Colonel Jenifer, whose headquarters when 
the fight took place, were at Princeton, was in the immediate 
command of all the forces then operating in Mercer County. 
He had won fame and reputation as a Lieutenant-Colonel of 
cavalry at the battle of Ball's Bluff, on the Potomac, in Octo- 
ber, 1861, but now he was about to and did commit an act of 
vandalism almost, if not quite unparalleled in the annals of 
civilized war, and one which tarnished his fair name, and over- 
shadowed all the glory and laurels won by him at Ball's 
Bluif. To destroy the homes of non-combatant enemies in time 
of war is horrible enough ! What excuse can be offered for one 
who destroys the homes of his friends, especially of as devoted 
and self sacrificing a people as those of Princeton? 

Learning, for he was near the fight, that his forces were re- 
treating before the army of General Cox and that the latter 
would in a few hours occupy the village of Princeton, Colonel 
Jenifer, without warning or notice, ordered the burning of the 
village, which was accomplished under his own supervision, 
whereby old men, women and children were not only deprived 
of shelter, and of all their worldly goods, but were turned out 
into the highways in the mud and cold rains to flee whereso- 
ever they might, and to find food and shelter wheresoever they 
could. Not only did this man Jenifer have burned the houses 
in the village, including the public buildings, except the jail, 
but had the church buildings in the western and southern part 
of the County destroyed, and then fled to Wytheville and ad- 
vised the burning of that town. In volume 12, part 1, Rebel- 
lion Records 450, will be found the official report of Colonel 
Jenifer to General Heth concerning the burning of this village 
which is inserted herein and is as follows: "On April 30th it 
was reported to me at Rocky Gap, that the enemy was advanc- 

1861-1865 . 221 

ing on Princeton from the direction of Raleigh. In conse- 
quence of this report I ordered out Lieutenant Colonel Fitz- 
hugh with about 120 dismounted cavalry and some 70 or 80 
militia to meet the enemy and to detain him if possible until 
I could remove the few remaining stores from Princeton to 
Rocky Gap. I also ordered up the forty-fifth, Colonel Peters, 
to the support of Colonel Fitzhugh, but before this regiment 
could reach Princeton the enemy had advanced so rapidly that 
fearing Colonel Peters would be cut off I ordered him back to 
his camp, and in returning his regiment was ambushed by the 
enemy and thrown into some confusion. In order to enable me 
to save stores and property at Princeton, it became necessary 
to engage the enemy's advance column, which Colonel Fitz- 
hugh, did, inflicting considerable loss on the enemy. The fight 
was kept up for thirteen hours and for a distance of 22 miles, 
was well contested by the small force under Colonel Fitzhugh. 
During the engagement we lost one killed, four or five serious- 
ly wounded, and eight or nine slightly wounded. The wounded 
were all brought ofl' safe from the field; the few who were 
seriously wounded, were taken to houses near the field. The en- 
emy's loss is supposed to be 35 in killed, wounded and missing. 
I evacuated Princeton just as the enemy entered it, having 
first fired the town." 

The official report of the engagement at Clark's house on 
May 1st by Colonel E. P. Scammon, 23rd Ohio regiment is as 
follows : This morning at daylight the advance guard of Lieu- 
tenant Colonel Hays, a company of 23rd regiment under Lieu- 
tenant Botsford was surrounded and attacked by about 300 
rebels at Camp Creek. Lieutenant Botsford reports one man 
killed and twenty wounded, all but three or four slightly; six 
or seven of the enemy killed; wounded not yet known. Six 
prisoners, three wounded, had been taken, and others being 
brought in when messenger left. The enemy fled and Lieuten- 
ant Colonel Hayes had reached Camp Creek." 

The turnpike road leading southward from Princeton to 
Rocky Gap was literally lined and thronged with soldiers and 

222 New River Settlements 

civilians, the latter mostly of women, children and old men, 
fleeing from the vanguard of the Federal army which was en- 
tering Princeton as the last of these people were passing out. 
The Federal soldiers did what they could to save the burning 
buildings, and among these Federal soldiers were two who be- 
came Presidents of the United States, viz: R. B. Hayes and 
William McKinley. The Federals seemed satisfied when they 
reached Princeton, and did not immediately pursue the retreat- 
ing Confderates. 

By this time the Confederate authorities had become aroused 
by the gravity of the situation, and the threatened advance of 
the army of General Cox to the Virginia and Tennessee Rail- 
road, and they took prompt steps to gather a force to repel the 

Brigadier General Henry Heth collected a force at Dublin, 
consisting of the 36th, 22nd and 45th Virginia regiments of in- 
fantry, the 8th Virginia cavalry regiment, dismounted. Chap- 
man's, Otey's and Vawter's Virginia batteries of artillery. 

Colonel Gabriel C. Wharton commanding the 51st Virginia 
regiment of infantry, rendezvoused at Wytheville, and Gener- 
al Humphrey Marshall with the 5th Kentucky infantry under 
Colonel Andrew J. May, 54th Virginia infantry under Colonel 
Trigg, 29th Virginia regiment of infantry. Colonel Moore, and 
a small Virginia battalion of infantry under Major Dunn, a 
battalion of Kentucky cavalry under Colonel Bradley, and a 
battery of artillery under Captain Jeffries, at Tazewell Court 
House, Virginia. 

General Cox had sent forward to Pearisburg, Virginia, un- 
der Colonel R. B. Hayes, of the 23rd Ohio regiment of infan- 
try, from whence it was driven by a brisk skirmish, by General 
Heth's forces on the 10th day of May with a loss to the Confed- 
erates of two killed and four wounded, among the latter Col- 
onel Patton slightly ; the loss to the Federals was two men 
killed, and five or six wounded, among them, Colonel Hayes 

The Federal advance under Major Comly, of the 23rd Ohio 

1861-1865 223 

regiment, reached Pearisburg on May 6th. Major Comly in 
his report says: '^arrived here and took the place completely 
by surprise. No houses burned — citizens all here. We have 
captured one Major, one Lieutennat Colonel, and fifteen or 
twenty other prisoners." 

Colonel Hayes with the remainder of his regiment arrived on 
the evening of the 7th. On the 8th in his report to Colonel 
Scammon he, among other things in speaking of Pearisburg and 
its people, says: "this is a lovely spot, a fine, clean village; 
most beautiful and romantic surrounding country, polite and 
educated secesh people." 

Between the 1st and the 10th days of May, General Cox had 
advanced with the main body of his forces to French's Mill, 
now called Oakvale, on East River, eleven miles south of 
Princeton and seventeen miles from Pearisburg. Having 
learned of the retreat of Hays' regiment from Pearis- 
burg and that Heth's forces were pursuing and that his 
rear was threatened by both Wharton and Marshall, Gen- 
eral Cox made up his mind to advance no further, but to 
return to Princeton; however, before doing so and to guard 
against an attack from Wharton's column moving north to- 
ward Princeton, he detached on the evening of the 15th and 
sent westward up the Cumberland Gap and Prices' turnpike 
road Lieutenant Colonel Lewis Von Blessing, with five com- 
panies of the 28th, four companies of the 37th and two com- 
panies of the 34th regiments of Ohio infantry ; but Von Bless- 
ing seems to have returned to his camp, and on the 16th moved 
up East River again, camping about Mills' that night, and 
moving toward the cross roads on the morning of the 17th. 

General Wharton's regiment camped on the night of the 
16th at the Peery-Gibson farm at the southern base of East 
River Mountain, breaking camp at a very early hour on the 
morning of the 17th. The men were in light marching order, 
encumbered with only one wagon containing medical stores, 
among which was a barrel of whiskey. Wharton's instruc- 
tions were to press forward to Princeton, this being the point 

224 New River Settlements 

of concentration for the three Confederate columns advancing 
upon General Cox, whose troops or a part of them had had 
quite a lively skirmish west of Princeton on the evening of the 
10th Avith the vanguard of Marshall's forces. 

On reaching the toj) of East River Mountain, early on the 
morning of the 17th, Colonel Wharton discovered some three 
miles away to the east, Colonel Von Blessing's command ad- 
vancing westward along the turnpike road. Wharton did not 
know, could only surmise who these people were. He did not 
stop to see; his orders were to go to Princeton, gallant, faith- 
ful soldier as he was, he performed his duty; that is, obeyed 
his orders. Without halting, but pressing forward, passing 
the junction of the road before Von Blessing's column reach- 
ed that point, and throwing out a rear guard he took the road to 
Princeton, Von Blessing following and taking the short route 
by the old mill of Calfee and Bailey and into the turnpike near 
the present residence of Mr. Estill Bailey; Von Blessing, ap- 
parently, in fact evidently, not knowing Wharton was in his 
front, or if he did he took it to be a very small force with 
which if he overtook, he would have no difficulty in dealing. 
Colonel W^harton on reaching Pigeon Roost Hill, found him- 
self in full view of Princeton and only about one mile south 
thereof; halting his regiment and reconnoitering, he discovered 
that instead of Princeton being in possession of the Confed- 
erates under General Marshall, as he had been led to suppose, 
that it was occupied by the Federal troops. In the meantime 
he had heard the sound of Marshall's guns west of Princeton 
on the New Hope road. He at once made disposition of his 
troops, placing Major Peter J. Otey, late an honored member 
of Congress from Virginia, but who died a short time ago, in 
command of three companies of infantry and one piece of ar- 
tillery under Lieutenant B. Langhorne, and with instuctions 
to Major Otey, the next in rank to himself to place a line of 
men on the front towards Princeton, and one facing to the rear 
with instructions for these lines to furnish support to each oth- 
er as necessity might require, he took a guide and started to 

1861-1865 225 

find General Marshall. At the place where Colonel Wharton 
made his formation the road winds around the hill in the form 
of nearly a double half circle. 

General Cox knowing that his Lieutenant was on the Wythe, 
Grayson and Raleigh Turnpike road, and doubtless being ad- 
vised of Wharton's movements, with whom Von Blessing was 
likely to come to blows, sent forward a battalion of infantry to 
reenforce Von Blessing. This advance having been discovered, 
Major Otey threw forward to meet this force two companies 
of infantry, one of them the Grayson company under its fear- 
less and gallant leader Captain William A. Cooper, and one 
gun under Lieutenant Langhorne. This small force met the 
advance of the Federal battalion and repulsed it, thereby pre- 
venting its union with Von Blessing. The situation just then 
was critical for both sides. Von Blessing was cut off from his 
friends, and Wharton's regiment placed in a position to be at- 
tacked both front and rear at the same time. Von Blessing 
could not help hearing the sound of the contest between Lang- 
home's gun, Cooper's men and the Federal's, and no doubt 
this caused him to hasten his steps, for he knew of the force he 
had been following from the cross roads, and had evidently 
made up his mind that they would soon be between two fires 
and killed or captured. Overtaking Wharton's medical wagon, 
causing Dr. J. M. Estill, the regimental surgeon, and his corps 
of assistants to hurriedly seek shelter behind the Confederate 
battle line, Von Blesing's men unloaded the barrel of whiskey 
heretofore mentioned, and soldier like they soon had out the 
head, and imbibing freely they got enough to make them large- 
ly forget their tiresome, worn out condition, and soon hurried 
on to the field of slaughter and death. Marching by the route 
step and at rapid gate, doubtless enthused by the whiskey, 
and perhaps also by the thought that they would capture the 
Confederates in their front, they approached without discover- 
ing Wharton's men in position as above described, and suddenly 
meeting a rapid and concentric fire were thrown into utter 
confusion and panic. Under orders from Major Otey the Con- 

226 New River Settlements 

federates charged, and the Federals fled, closely pursued by the 
exultant Confederates. Major Otey sprang over the fence in 
the bend of the road, and met face to face a large burly Ger- 
man Federal soldier, armed with a Belgian rifle, which he pre- 
sented at Otey, the latter firing at the German with his pistol 
striking the ground about his feet, and railing out at him, say- 
ing: "Why are you trying to shoot me when you knoAV that 
your men are running?" to which the German replied, "Well, 
Mister, my gun ain't loaded." 

Retreating for about one mile on the road over which they 
had just advanced, and reaching Brush Creek Bridge, they 
were piloted by some one who knew the country, over a by-path 
through the farms of Bratton, Straley and others, to a point on 
the Princeton and Twelve-Mile Fork road, about two miles 
south of the first named place. Here they were within two 
miles of the town now occupied by General Cox, and why Col- 
onel Von Blessing did not move immediately into the town is 
unexplainable, except upon the supposition that General Cox 
was yet at French's Mill. There can be no sort of question 
that Colonel Von Blessing and his men were greatly demoral- 
ized, consequent upon their being suddenly attacked, in fact 
surprised. His loss according to his own report, was 18 killed, 
56 wounded and 14 captured, while the Confederates lost 
but one man and he killed by accident, and nine wounded. The 
total Federal loss around Princeton during the two days of 
partial engagements, was 23 killed, 69 wounded, and 21 miss- 
ing. The total loss of the Confederates was three killed, 21 
wounded, among them Captain Elliott of Kentucky, mortally 
and who soon died. Von Blessing on his march from the 
bridge over Brush Creek, two miles south of Princeton, and in 
passing through the farm of Mr. H. W. Straley, met him in 
the road on his horse on his way from the mill, whither he had ' 
been to get bread for his family. He took charge of Mr. Stra- 
ley, as also of his horse, and dismounting him, placed a wound- 
ed Federal soldier on the horse. 
The fight at Pigeon Roost Hill took place about 10 o'clock on 

1861-1865 227 

the morning of the 17th. Colonel Von Blessing, with his badly 
scared and demoralized men, did not reach the Princeton and 
Twelve Mile Fork road until towards the middle of the after- 
noon, and although only four miles away he did not reach the 
mouth of Twelve Mile Fork at Spangler's, until after dark. He 
halted at the mouth of the fork for several hours, and then re- 
traced his steps to the right-hand branch of that fork and up the 
same, passing out through the farms of Major Wm. M. Reynolds 
and Charles Stinson, and directly across the front of General ' 
Heth's command occupying the Princeton and French's Mill 
roads, and on through the Gooch and Grigsby farms to the old 
Logan road near Pisgah Church. Before fair dawn on the morn- 
ing of the ISth they had reached the farm lately owned by T. 
K. Lambert, formerly by Captain William A. Cooper, and were 
in sight of the Princeton and Red Sulphur roads, whereupon 
they discovered a troop of Confederate cavalry passing, which 
seemed to give fresh impetus to their fleeing capacity ; in fact 
thew were so alarmed that they cried out, "Rebel Calvary! 
Rebel Cavalry!" and broke into panic and wild confusion^ 
fled with all speed on and along the old Logan road, throwing 
away guns, cartridge boxes, indeed everything that could in 
any way impede their making a successful run ; which did not 
end until they had joined at Spanishburg, nine miles away. 
General Cox's column retreating from Princeton. The reader 
no doubt has asked himself the question, what became of Mr. 
Straley, his horse and the wounded man ? So soon as the panic 
began at Lambert's farm the wounded man on Straley's horse 
dismounted and fled with his comrades. Mr. Straley seized 
his horse's bridle and attempted to mount, but his saddle turn- 
ed and the already affrighted horse became only the more 
frightened and simply kicked himself free from the saddle. Mr. 
Straley did not stop to gather up the saddle, but mounting the 
horse without the saddle, sped rapidly through the woods and 
swamps, until he reached home some four miles away. 

The Confederate column under General Heth had on the 17th 
advanced on and along the French's Mill and Princeton road 

228 New Kiver Settlements 

to the west side of the Adam Johnston farm and about four 
miles from Princeon; having ample time by continuing the 
march to have joined battle with General Cox before nightfall, 
but for some reason best known to General Heth, he halted his 
command at the point indicated until after night. A wagon 
and team belonging to General Cox's forces had driven out on 
this road in search of some baggage left at a farm house by 
the Federals retreating from French's Mill, and a Federal cou- 
rier was captured, from whom Heth got information which in- 
duced him to retire his forces to Big Hill, about two miles north 
of French's Mill. Whether the courier was sent specially to 
mislead General Heth no one on the Confederate side knew, 
but Heth's non-action and retrograde movement enabled Gen- 
eral Cox to retreat in safety, and he did so that night, in fact 
began his retreat before night, for Marshall's command occu- 
pied the village the next morning. 

As before stated, Marshall's column advanced on the New 
Hope Cliurch road, and did not encounter resistance until it 
reached a point about one mile east of New Hope Church, where 
it met the Federal skirmishers. The 5th Kentucky regiment un- 
der Colonel A. J. May led the advance, and rapidly pushed the 
Federal skirmishers back upon their reserve at Princeton. 
General Marshall brought forward his battery, planting it on 
the high bluff just west of the dwelling house owned by the late 
Leander P. Johnston. The Federal battery in opposition to 
Marshall's, one parrot gun was posted on the cemetery hill 
about one half mile west of Princeton, and was supported by 
some companies of the 37th Ohio regiment under Col. Moore. 
The pressure from the columns of Marshall and Wharton from 
the south and west, and the threatening attitude of Heth's col- 
umn from the east, caused Gen. Cox to withdraw from Prince- 
ton and return to Flat Top. He began his retreat on the even- 
ing of the 17th, but all did not get away until in the early 
morning of the 18th, when the forces of Marshall occupied the 
village of Princeton about sunrise of the same morning. In 
the skirmish on the New Hope road between Marshall's forces 

1861-1865 229 

and the Federals, the loss of the former was a few men wound- 
ed, while the latter had two or three killed and several wound- 

Lieutenant Colonel Lewis Von Blessing the commandant of 
the Federal force which was defeated by Wharton's Virginia 
regiment on Pigeon Roost Hill, on the morning of the 17th of 
May, made to his superior oflScer his report, in which among 
other things, he states : "It is difficult to give the force of the 
enemy against us in the fight of the 17th. They fired all sorts 
and all Calibers of balls, even with fire balls and hand grenades. 
The dead of the 37th regiment number 11, so many having been 
recognized, and 36 severely wounded have been transported to 
Princeton and left in the hands of the enemy. Seven slightly 
wounded have been brought back to the regiment, and 18 are 
still missing from the four companies engaged in the combat. 
The loss of the 28th regiment is 5 killed and 10 wounded; from 
the companies of the 34th regiment 2 wounded." 

Except a few troops from Kentucky, and from the Virginia 
border along the Kanawha, Ohio and Sandy waters, the men 
who fought the battles around Princeton were chiefly New 
River Valley men. It may here also be noted that a number of 
companies of New River Valley men served in General 
Jackson's corps. Pulaski, Wythe and Montgomery Counties 
furnished three or more companies to the 4th Virginia regiment 
of the Stonewall brigade, while Monroe furnished one company 
and the 27th regiment of the same brigade. 

Of the numbers Federals and Confederates engaged in this 
campaign, they were not far from equal, with perhaps a slight 
preponderance in favor of the Confederates. General Cox 
certainly out generaled the Confederates, and the military crit- 
ics will say in reviewing this campaign its management and re- 
sults, that the Confederates woefully blundered, and that their 
adversary took advantage of their blunders, escaping when 
within their grasp. It may be added here that of the fatally 
wounded on the Confederate side at Clark's house on the 1st 
of May, Greene Bryson died at the house of William Ferguson, 

230 New River Settlements 

on Wolf Creek, and Montgomery Cox reached his home in 
Wjtheville, where he soon expired. 

In tlie little village of Princeton, out of near an hundred 
houses, only about nine or ten remained after the burning. The 
suffering of the non-combatants, the old men, women and chil- 
dren, who were compelled to abandon their homes, and the 
county, and most of whom never returned, are beyond the pow- 
ers of description. 

After the close of the military operation around Princeton 
in the spring of 1862 General Heth moved across New River, 
and marched upon Lewisburg, then occupied by a Federal force, 
with which on the 23rd of May he fought a severe battle in 
which his troops were totally defeated with considerable loss. 
The Federal forces numbered about 1500, Heth's about 2,000. 
The Federal loss was 13 killed, 53 wounded and 7 missing; the 
Confederate loss was 38 killed, 70 wounded and 100 captured 
together with four pieces of artillery. Among the Confederate 
officers captured was Major George M. Edgar. Captain Thomas 
W. Thompson, of Mercer County, commanding a company in 
Edgar's battalion, was permanently disabled by a severe 

Between the close of this campaign and the advance of Gen- 
eral Crook's Federal arm}' in the spring of 1864, no very con- 
siderable body of Federal troops entered the county of Mercer. 
There were numerous scouting parties and frequent small 
skirmishes between small bodies of Federals and Confederates 
during this period. There are some things and incidents to be 
related which occurred during this period along the border and 
in the county of Mercer which are reserved until the proper 
date is reached in which these events occurred; and a return 
will now be made to the movements of the army of Northern 
Virginia, which, as will be recollected, was left in camp in front 
of Richmond after the close of the Seven days battles. 

About the time of the close of the fighting around Richmond 
on the first day of July, 1862, the Federal General Pope mak- 
ing himself troublsome in Northern Virginia, Major General 

1861-1865 231 

Jackson with his corps in the latter days of July marched in 
the direction of Rapidan, and on the 9th day of August fought 
a fierce and bloody battle at Cedar Mountain, in Culpeper 
County, with a large part of General Pope's army, in which the 
latter was defeated and driven from the field, but that night 
and the next day being largely reenforced, and greatly out- 
numbering the troops under General Jackson, the latter re- 
treated across the Rapidan to await help from General Lee, 
who by this time believing himself and Richmond safe from 
any attack from the army of General McClellen at Harrison's 
Landing, on August 13th sent forward General Longstreet 
with his division, including Kemper's brigade, to the assistance 
of General Jackson; and on the 15th himself left for the 

General Lee prepared to strike Pope's left, but that distin- 
guished General took fright and retired behind the Rappahan- 
ock, whither General Lee closely followed; and for several 
days continual skirmishing and artillery duels were kept up 
at the fords along that river, until finally General Jackson had 
so far removed to the left and up the river as to allow General 
Longstreet to occupy his place on the river front, and so to 
speak pulled the bridle off Jackson and turned him loose after 

General Lee sent General Stuart with a portion of his cav- 
alry to sever Pope's connection with Alexandria and Wash- 
ington, which he in some measure accomplished, but not fully on • 
account of the terrific rainfall, and at the same time impelled 
General Jackson's corps on the 22nd and 23rd up the Rappa- 
hannock to Warrenton Springs; Pope marching up on parallel 
lines, but not fully understanding the significance of the move- 
ment, rather supposing at the first that Jackson was making 
for the Valley. 

Jackson still pushing up the river on the 25th with his three 
divisions, crossed the upper Rappahanock and bivouaced that 
night at Salem, on the Manassas Gap Railroad, General Lee 
in the meantime occupying as far as possible Pope's attention 

232 New River Settlements 

ou the Kappahanock with Longstreet's troops. General Jack- 
son continued his movement until he reached the rear of the 
Federal army, cutting its line of communications and captur- 
ing immense stores at Manassas Junction, appropriating so 
much thereof as he could use and get away with, destroyed the 
remainder. General Longstreet's corps soon followed, taking 
the same route pursued by Jackson's corps, and on reaching 
Thoroughfare Gap on the evening of August 28th found it held 
by the enemy. Next morning the forward movement began, 
Kemper's brigade following another, moving through the gap 
while some other Confederate troops by a flank movement had 
caused the enemy to withdraw from his strong position in the 

As Kemper's men cleared the gap and reached the vicinity 
of Haymarket, they could distinctly hear the roar of the guns 
of the enemy and those of Jackson. The pace was quickened as 
the troops passed on and along the highway in clouds of dust 
and suffering for water. It was near high noon when Kemper's 
brigade reached the vivinity of the battlefield, and late that af- 
ternoon the roar of the battle on the left told us that Jack- 
son's men with a portion of Longstreet's were hotly engaged. 
Some skirmishing and artillery firing occurred in the forenoon 
of the 30th, and then for a while there was a calm; in which 
both armies were preparing for the fray. 

General Kemper was placed in command of a division con- 
sisting of Jenkins', Hunton's and his own brigade, the latter 
commanded by Colonel Montgomery D. Corse of the 17th Vir- 
ginia regiment. 

The battle rolled along the left front of Kemper's brigade 
with fury, when about three o'clock, P. M., the order came to 
move forward, which was done at double quick, the men fix- 
ing their bayonets as they went. Through a strip of woods 
and into an open field a little to the south of the Chinn house, 
brought the brigade almost into the presence of the enemy, 
but in the direction of a right oblique from them; and in order 
to face them a left half wheel was made which brought it in 

1861-1865 233 

full face to the enemy, only a few hundred yards away, stand- 
ing in line of battle in open ground across a small ridge or 
elevation beyond the Chinn house, and a little north and west of 
an old Virginia rail fence, with a five gun battery on top of the 
elevation in line with its infantry supports. 

Kemper's brigade went forward in good order at a quick 
step, until striking the Chinn house which compelled it to 
make a left oblique movement creating some confusion, which 
however was but momentary. Away it dashed at the enemy's 
line firing as it advanced, reached and crossed the rail fence 
and on to and over the Federal battery, scattering the canon- 
iers with their infantry support. A short distance beyond 
the brigade was halted; its supports coming up it was finally 
withdrawn to a pine thicket in the rear of the ground over 
which it had fought. After the brigade started on the charge 
every man was his own General, and there was no earthly pow- 
er could have stopped it until it had accomplished the object 
for which it had made the charge, viz, the capture of the Fed- 
eral guns and defeat of its infantry supports. In this charge 
the left of the 7th Virginia regiment became somewhat inter- 
mingled with the right of the 24th Virginia regiment, so that 
both regiments are entitled to claim credit for the capture of 
the guns. The colors of the 7th regiment having fallen, were 
seized by Lieutenant Colonel Flowerree, who upon the fall of 
Colonel Patton handed them to Lieutenant Stewart. In ad- 
dition to the five guns the brigade had captured, a flag from the 
enemy was also taken, but it had paid dearly in precious lives 
and blood for its victory. The enemy was beaten and was get- 
ting away, but night now upon us prevented successful pur- 
suit. The brigade loss was 33 killed, 240 wounded, and one 
missing. The 7th Virginia regiment lost 5 killed, and 48 
wounded. The 24th Virginia regiment lost 11 killed and 
67 wounded. Among the field oflScers wounded were Colonel 
Corse commanding the brigade, Colonel Patton, Lieutenant 
Colonel Flowerree, and Major Swinler, the latter losing a leg, 
as well also as Adjutant Hugh M. Patton and Sergeant Major 


234 New Kiver Settlements 

I'ark of the 7th regiment. Company D, of the 7th regiment, 
lost the following members: killed, John Q. Martin; wounded 
Captain R, H. Bane and Lieutenant John W. Mullens, and pri- 
vates W. H. Carr, John S. Dudley, Elbert S. Eaton, Adam 
Thompson, William C. Fortner, James H. Fortner, Francis H. 
Farley, J. Tyler Frazier, John W. Hight, Gordon L. Wilburn, 
Hugh J. Willburn, William I. Wilburn, James J. Nye, and 
AVashington R. C. Vass, the latter two mortally; Vass dying 
that night and Nye in a day or two after. Out of about 57 
men carried into action only 40 came out unhurt. The loss in 
officers in the 7th Virginia was 12. The loss in the Giles and 
Jilercer companeis in the 24th regiment was severe. The names 
of those killed and wounded in the Giles company seems not 
to have been preserved. A partial list of those killed and 
wounded in the Mercer company shows that Lieutenant Bal- 
lard P. French was slain, and that Captain H. Scott and Pri- 
vate John Coeburn were wounded. In front of Kemper's brig- 
ade fell mortally wounded Colonel Fletcher Webster of Massa- 
chusetts, the only son of Daniel Webster. 

General Lee's skillful tactics compelled the enemy to fight at a 
disadvantage, and yet it was among the most fiercely contested 
open field battles of the war, and in scarce no other did the Con- 
federates acquit tliemselves with more honor. They had beat- 
en an enemy superior to them in numbers and equipment, in- 
flicting upon him heavy loss of men and guns. 

With Longstreet's division, Kemper's brigade occupied the 
field the next day and buried the dead, and cared for the 
wounded amid a heavy rain storm. 

Early on Monday the 1st day of September the division 
moved across Bull Run and to the vicinity of Chantilly, reach- 
ing there at night and in the midst of a pelting rain. On the 
3rd it moved to and through Leesburg and to the banks of the 
Potomac at White's Ford, where it encamped on the night of 
the 5th. The enemy had taken shelter within his entrench- 
ments in and around Alexandria and Washington, and anoth- 
er ''On to Richmond" had come to grief. 

1861-1865 235 

At Leesburg all the men who were sick, broken down, bare- 
foot, lame and halt, were allowed to remain, and there were 
not a few of them, whose services were so sorely needed beyond 
the Potomac a few days later. A little after sunrise on Satur- 
day, the 6th day of September, 1862, Kemper's brigade crossed 
the Potomac and made its footprint on the sacred soil of Mary- 
land, my Maryland, and as the men wended their way across 
the Potomac, some one remembering Randall's soulstirring and 
patriotic poem, began to sing: — 

"The despot's heel is on thy shore, 

Maryland, my Maryland, 
His torch is on thy temple door, 

Maryland, my Maryland, 
Avenge the patriotic gore, 
That flecked the streets of Baltimore, 
And be the battle queen of yore, 

Maryland, my Maryland." 

Thousands of voices joined in the song, while a bugler on 
the Northern bank took up and made the welkin ring, which 
was answered by long and gladsome shouts by the men. Halt- 
ing that night and camping a few miles out from the river; 
reaching the Monocacy River next day where it is spanned by 
the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad bridge, where the command 
spent two or three days in resting and recuperating. The men 
were in light marching order, having learned to burden them- 
selves with as little as possible; a cloth haversack, canteen and 
blanket were the sum total of a soldier's luggage at this period 
of the war. They had no change of clothing as a rule; a grey 
cap, jacket, pants, and colored shirt, made up about all the 
clothing he had, and when he thought he would like to have a 
clean shirt, he took off the soiled one, went to the water and, 
generally without soap, gave it a rubbing, hung it out in the 
sun, hunted a shade and waited for the garment to dry suffi- 
ciently to put it on again. As for rations, especially on this 
campaign, if he could get a little green corn and fresh beef he 
counted himself fairly w^ell provided for; enough to march and 
fight on. He preferred a pair of shoes if he could get them and 
if he could not, he, like many on this campaign, marched bare- 

236 New River Settlements 

foot, and complained but little if it was light enough for him 
to see where to place his feet. 

Remaining at the Monocacy some three or four days, the 
command turned its face westward, passing through Freder- 
ick, Middletown, and Boonsboro to Hagerstown. It had be- 
come the custom for each regiment to have inscribed upon its 
flag the various battles in which it had been engaged. At that 
time the 7th Virginia regiment had inscribed on its flag among 
the names of battles, tliat of Seven Pines, and as the regiment 
marched through Frederick a lady among a considerable group 
catching sight of the words Seven Pines on the flag proposed, 
"Three cheers for the battle flag of Seven Pines," which were 
given with a hearty good will, and thereupon the regiment be- 
gan to sing: — 

Oh! have you heard the joyful news 
Virginia does Old Abe refuse, 

Hurrah! Hurrah! Hurrah! 
Virginia joins the cotton states, 

Hurrah! Hurrah! Hurrah! 
The glorious cry each heart elates, 

We'll live and die for Dixie." 

Longstreet's division reached Hagerstown on the 12tli and 
went into camp on the southwest side of the town, where it 
remained until Sunday, the 14th as hereinafter related. Gen- 
eral D. H. Hill's division had been left to guard tlie passes 
through South Mountain, while General Jackson had led 
his troops for the reduction and capture of the Federal garri- 
son at Harper's Ferry. On the march of Kemper's brigade 
from Frederick through Middletown, it met with few smiles if 
any, but on the other hand strong exhibitions of Union feeling 
and sentiment, especially from the females, who seemed intent 
on saying bad things and in having the last word. The men 
took it in good part, said funny things to them and sung for 
them a part of the words of the beautiful southern poem : — (1) 

(1). The above arrangement of lines is a fac-simile of the original 
manuscript; and while incorrect, from the standpoint of arrangement, 
it is followed, as a matter of interest. The song is given line-for-line. 

1861-1865 237 

"We are a band of brothers and native to 
The soil, 

Fighting for the property we've gained by- 
Honest toil, 

And when our rights were threatened the 
Cry rose near and far, 

Hurrah! for the bonny blue flag that bears 
The single star, 

Hurrah! Hurrah! For the southern rights 

Hurrah! for the bonny blue flag that bears 
The single star. 

As long as the Union was faithful 

To her trust. 
Like friends and like brothers, kind 

Were we and just. 
But now when northern treachery 

Attempts our rights to mar. 
We hoist on high the bonny flag that 

Bears the single star. 

Then here's to our Confederacy — strong are 

We and brave; 
Like patriots of old we fight our heritage 

To save; 
And rather than submit to shame, to 

Die we would prefer. 
So cheer for the bonnie blue flag that 

Bears the single star." 

In Hagerstown more signs of the southern sentiment were 
visible, even displayed, — for a young girl about fourteen stand- 
ing on the top of a gate post as the brigade passed, cried out, 
"Three cheers for Jeff Davis, why may not he be honored?" 

On Sunday the 14th about 11 o'clock, A. M., the long roll 
sounded and the men of Longstreet were quickly in line, and 
with faces turned eastward marched at a quickstep towards 
Boonsboro about 14 miles away. The roads were cleared of 
everything that would in any way delay the march, which was 
quickened by the continuous roar of guns east of or about 
Boonsboro Gap, where as was understood General D. H. Hill's 
division was closely engaged with the main portion of the Fed- 
eral army, now under the command of General McClellan, who 
was gradually pressing the Confederates back to the Mountain 
top. Longstreet's division, except one brigade left by him at 
Hagerstown, was pressing forward with all speed to the relief 

238 New River Settlements 

of General Hill's command. It was near 3 o'clock, P. M., when 
Kemper's brigade reached the foot of the mountain east of 
Boonsboro. Turning to the right at the western base of the 
mounain, it was conducted to a point about half way up the 
mountain side in the direction of a gap, and thence to the left 
into the main gap through which the great highway passes. 
While being conducted from this gap up and along an arm of 
the mountain to the left, the movement was discovered by a 
Federal battery to the right rear, which at once opened fire 
throwing shot and shell into the ranks, one of which struck the 
head of the leading company of the 7th regiment, killing one 
man instantly. To dodge at the sound of a cannon shot, the 
whistling or singing of a minnie ball, was altogether natural 
with a soldier, no matter how strong and brave he might be and 
was no indication of cowardice. Dodging was one of the weak- 
nesses of John Meadows, of Company D, 7th regiment. John 
would always dodge, but wouldn't run ; so on this occasion John 
began to dodge, which happened to be observed by John Craw- 
ford of the same company, who called out to Meadows, "What 
the devil is use of dodging now, the ball has gone by, the first 
thing you know you will dodge in the way of a ball." The brig- 
ade hastened its steps to the mountain top, on reaching which 
it found itself face to face with the enemy. 

Before describing the fight which ensued, a statement as to 
the situation and relative position of the Confederates at and 
near the place occupied by Kemper's brigade is necessary to a 
clear understanding of what had and was about to take place. 
Colquitt's Georgia brigade was occupying a line on both sides 
the turnpike road and perpendicular thereto, and from which 
the enemy had been unable to dislodge it. Rode's Alabama 
brigade, supported by that of Evans, of South Carolina, held 
the extreme Confederate left, and by whom a most gallant and 
unqualed struggle had been maintained for several hours, until 
the enemy by overpowering force of numbers had about sue 
ceeded in crowning the mountain, when Kemper's brigade ar- 
rived on the field of contention. General Pickett's brigade, 

1861-1865 239 

now commanded by General Garnett, was thrown forward and 
posted on the left of Colquitt's brigade; and Kemper's brigade 
across the old road to fill the gap or space between the right 
of Evans and left of Pickett. These two brigades numbering 
not more than eight hundred men, and against whom was pit- 
ted not less than 5,000 Federals, bravely held their ground un- 
til long after nightfall, withdrawing from their position with- 
out molestation. The ranks of Kemper's brigade had been 
greatly depleted by sickness, the battles around Richmond, 
Second Manassas, and the barefoot, sick, lame men left at Lees- 
burg, and broken down men on the rapid march made from Ha- 
gerstown to Boonsboro ; so that the five little regiments of his 
brigade that reached the firing line on the evening of Septem- 
ber 14th, 1862, could not have exceeded in the aggregate 500 
men rank and file. 

The 17th Virginia regiment occupied the right of the brig- 
ade, then 11th, 7th, 1st, and 24th regiments in the order named. 
It was near the hour of 4 :30 o'clock, P. M., when the brigade of 
General Kemper reached the crest of the mountain, and as 
stated met the enemy face to face, only a short distance away 
and seemingly intent on crowning the mountain if possible. 
Here for more than an hour and thirty minutes, the battle 
raged fiercely, the enemy at some points reaching almost up to 
the points of the Confederate bayonets. On the southeast side 
of the county road referred to were the 17th and 11th regi- 
ments, and partly in their front was a small field in which was 
a growing crop of corn, through which, a little after dark, the 
enemy came up almost to the muzzles of the guns of the regi- 
ments referred to, when some one cried out "There they are, 
men ; fire on them !" The fire from the guns of the combatants 
was so near each other that it appeared to intermingle. It was 
at or about this time that Major John W. Daniel, Adjutant of 
the 11th regiment, now United States Senator from Virginia, 
received a ball in one of his hands. The enemy finding the 
ground so firmly held against them, a little after dark desisted, 
leaving the Confederates in possession of this part of the field, 

240 New River Settlements 

from which in about one hour later they very quietly departed, 
taking with them such of the wounded as were able to be re- 
moved without stretchers. 

Since the reports can be had of the strength of the Federal 
troops pitted against Garnett's and Kemper's brigades, on the 
evening of the 14th of September, it can now be stated that Gen- 
eral Hatch's division of 3500 men, reinforced by Christian's 
brigade of 1500, which was put into the fight, were unable to 
drive these two small brigades from their position, and this 
should be glory enough for these men, tired, broken down, foot- 
sore, half naked and starved. It is stated upon authority that 
in this battle the Federals had about 30,000 men, the Confed- 
erates about 9,000. 

Want of official or other data prevents the statement of loses 
sustained by Kemper's brigade in this battle, except as to a 
single company, D, of the 7th Virginia, which company carried 
21 men into the battle and lost T. P. Mays and James Cole, kill- 
ed, and George Knoll and John R. Crawford wounded; a pro- 
portionate loss throughout the companies of the brigade would 
indicate a loss of 28 in the 7th regiment and of 100 in the brig- 
ade, and may be set down as not far short of this number. Col- 
or Sergeant Mays died with his flag clutched in his hands. 

The command passed quietly down to the turnpike and 
through Boonsboro and the little village of Keedysville, cross- 
ing the Antietam and reaching Sharpsburg the morning of the 
next day, Monday the 15th, about 11 o'clock, A. M, Filing to 
the left, Kemper's brigade took position behind the range of 
hills between the road leading from the town to Harper's Fer- 
ry and the Antietam, where it remained in the afternoon and 
night of Monday. Being out of rations, nothing, however, un- 
usual. Sergeant Taylor of D company of tlie 7th regiment with 
a detail was sent in quest of the much needed food, which he 
did not succeed in getting to the regiment when the battle 
opened on Wednesday, though he had secured a quantity of beef 
and had it cooking in one of the houses in the town when the 

1861-1865 241 

battle began, but did not make delivery to the men until after 
night put a stop to the contest. 

Nothing of importance transpired during Monday evening 
beyond a partial artillery duel and some skirmishing with the 
rear guard. The artillery opened early on Tuesday morning, 
and as Kemper's brigade with others were shifted from place 
to place along the line, it was exposed to the shot from 
the enemy's guns across the Antietam. Later in the eve- 
ning the fire far to the left seemed to increase, which, however, 
ceased when night came. On this day and prepared for the 
morrow's fray, Kemper could not muster in his brigade but 
few more than 400 muskets. The 17th Virginia regiment num- 
bered but 55 officers and men, the 7th regiment 117, the 1st 
regiment was less than a half size company, the 24th regiment 
not exceeding 150 men and 11th regiment scarcely more than 
100 men. On Kemper's left was Drayton's small brigade of 
three regiments, one South Carolina and two Georgia. To the 
left of Drayton was Garnett's brigade reduced to a mere skele- 
ton, and beyond Garnett, and with its left resting on the turn- 
pike road, was Jenkins' South Carolina brigade, likewise much 

General D. R. Jones was in command of the division com- 
posed of the brigades mentioned, together with General 
Toombs' brigade of four small Georgia regiments and a Georgia 
battalion, numbering in all, about 600 men, which together 
with the other brigades could not have given General Jones an 
aggregate of over 2,000 men to defend a line fully a mile in ex- 
tent, and threatened with a column of quite 15,000 of the enemy. 
General Toombs had been sent to defend a bridge over the An- 
tietam, and to prevent the enemy's crossing at that point. He 
had with him two small Georgia regiments and some artillery 
with which he held the bridge for several hours on the 17th, and 
only withdrew after inflicting heavy loss upon his assailants, 
and they had found a ford which enabled them to flank his posi- 

Before daylight on the morning of Wednesday the 17th, the 

242 New River Settlements 

artillery opened raijidly on the Confederate leit, and very soon 
thereafter the crash of small arms began, and the battle on 
that part of the field raged with intense fury for hours, and rap- 
idly extended towards the Confederate center and right. Near 
or a little past noon, the 24th Virginia regiment was detached 
and sent some eight hundred or a thousand yards to and be- 
yond the Confederate right, to keep watch in the direction of 
some of tlie fords of the Antietam. A short while after this regi- 
ment was detached, the 7th Virginia under Capt. Philip Ashby 
was sent to a point from five hundred to six hundred yards to 
the right of the position it had been occupying in brigade line, 
leaving General Kemper with three small regiments, 1st, llth^ 
and 17th Virginia numbering not exceeding two hundred men. 
Skirmishers from the brigade had been thrown forward a few 
hundred yards, and had taken shelter behind a stone fence in 
part and behind a board fence, at the base of the hill occupied 
by the brigade. Upon the retirement of the regiments of Gen- 
eral Toombs from the bridge, the enemy under the command 
of General Burnside pushed over the creek, and after some de- 
lay deployed in line of battle. The creek was not large and 
contained but little water, and might have been crossed at any 
point tlie enemy might have chosen, except at the bridge de- 
fended by General Toombs. They seemed anxious to secure the 
bridge and they did after several hours bloody battle, and the 
loss of more than 300 men killed and wounded, and this only 
after they had flanked the position. About three o'clock, P. M., 
the columns of General Burnside's 9th Federal army corps, cov- 
ering its front with a cloud of skirmishers, advanced to the at- 
tack. The skirmishers were quickly repelled by those of the Con- 
federates lying behind the fences described. The Federal brigade 
that first came to the relief of their skirmish line, came near 
sharing a like fate; and this too from the Confederate skirm- 
ish line alone supported by a few pieces of artillery. There 
quickly came however other battle lines to the help of their 
friends, which by their very momentum, if nothing else, enabled 
them to bodily rush over the Confederate skirmish line, but 

18G1-1865 243 

few escaping, and crowning the heights. Their seeming vic- 
tory was short lived, and was soon turned into a signal repulse 
and defeat. Generl Burnside's long sweeping lines advancing 
up the hill overlaped the right of Kemper's three little regi- 
ments by several hundred yards, brushing tliem away and cap- 
turing Mcintosh's South Carolina battery before it had fired a 
shot. Just then General Toombs with his small brigade that 
moment arrived from the bridge, threw his men on the Federal 
flank, and together with Kemper's handful, Drayton's, Gar- 
nett's and Jenkins' brigade renewed the fight with vigor with 
the Federal corps. Doubtless overpowering numbers would 
have soon won but for the good fortune of the Confederates in 
this unequal contest; General A. P. Hill's division, which had 
left Harper's Ferry that morning, having marched 17 miles, 
reached tlie field of contention at the opportune moment. Gen. 
Hill took in the situation at a glance, and threw upon the flank 
of the enemy's column of attack three of his brigades, Archer's 
Branch's and Gregg's, and in less than thirty minutes. Burn- 
side's whole corps was in full retreat towards the Antietam. 

The 24th Virginia regiment was not engaged, but suffered 
some loss, however, from the severe shelling to which it was sub- 
jected, while the 7th regiment was but slightly engaged, losing 
some men in killed and wounded. The three small regiments, 
viz : 1st, 11th and 17th regiments, especially the latter suffered 
severely in killed and wounded. Company D of the 7th regi- 
ment had but 15 men in the action, and lost Isaac Hare, slightly 
wounded, and John S. Dudley captured on the skirmish line. 

General Jones reports the strength of his division in this 
battle at 2430 men, far too high, and General A. P. Hill re- 
ports that he carried into action 2,000 men ; making 4430 men, 
against whom came Burnside's Federal corps of eight brigades 
of infantry numbering near 15,000 men, with seven batteries of 
field artillery, besides three companies of cavalry. The loss in 
Jones' division was 178 killed, 979 wounded, and 272 missing; 
total 1435. Hill's loss was 63 killed, 283 wounded : total 346. 
Aggregate loss of Jones' and Hill's divisions 1781 ; Burnside's 

244 New River Settlements 

loss was 2349. Brigadier General Branch, of Hill's command,, 
was killed and General Gregg wounded. In Jones' division 
General Toombs was wounded. 

In front of Kemper's brigade, and on and over the ground 
over which it fought, lay 35 men of the 8th Connecticut regi- 
ment dead and mortally wounded. The loss in Kemper's brig- 
ade was 144. At the close of the contest, the 7th and 24th regi- 
ments returned to the brigade, which occupied that night and 
the next day the same position it had occupied at the beginning 
of the battle that morning. 

The 18th was spent in gathering up and caring for the 
wounded, burying the dead, Confederate and Federal. That 
night the Confederates quietly marched away, and crossed to 
the south side of the Potomac. Kemper's brigade going into 
bivouac about four miles from the river ; a few days thereafter 
removing to a large spring near Bunker's Hill. Here quite a 
number of additions were made, not only to the brigade, but 
to the whole army from the lame, sick, and shoeless men left 
at Leesburg. The battle of Sharpsburg may be said to have 
been gratuitous on the part of the Confederates, for they had 
ample time and opportunity after the fall of Harper's Ferry 
on Monday morning to have retired to the Virginia side, and 
there the better prepared to fight a successful battle. During 
the 15th day of September, General Lee did not have with him 
at Sharpsburg more than 12,000 men, though by his maneu- 
vering and shifting his men from place to place, he convinced 
the Federal General that he had a vast army ready for the 

The Federal General McClellen in his official report states 
that he put 87,500 men into the battle of Wednesday ; and it is 
more than doubtful if the Confederate army in this battle ex- 
ceeded more than 33,000 men. It has been truly said that this 
was the bloodiest one day's battle of the war ; and in none did 
Southern individuality and self reliance, noted characteristics 
of the Confederate soldier, shine more brilliantly, or perform 
a more important part. 

1861-1865 245 

After the close of the battle, and on the night of the 18th, 
the cries of distress of a wounded Connecticut soldier lying in 
the forty-acre cornfield, were heard by J. M. Norton., a Georgia 
soldier belonging to Toombs' brigade and he determined to 
reach and relieve the sufferer, if possible. Taking his canteen 
filled with water, he crept and crawled to the spot from whence 
came the cries, and found Mr. B. L. Burr, a badly wounded Fed- 
eral soldier famishing — dying for water. He supplied him with 
a canteen of water, and then made his way safely back to his 
regiment. Subsequently, the following poem written by A. W. 
Burkhardt, which is here inserted, was suggested by the read- 
ing of this incident. 


On Maryland's soil, by Antietam's clear stream, 
There was a clashing of sabres and bayonet-gleam, 
And booming of cannon and shrieking of shell. 
While the Angel of death plied the engines of Hell, 

Two vast armies met there, in stern battle array, 
And Antietam ran crimsoned with blood on that day; 
"While death-dealing bullets were falling like hail. 
And the fate of a nation hung poised in the scale. 

In far-away homes many loved one shall weep. 
On that red gory field many v/arriors shall sleep; 
The mother shall watch, but her waiting is vain, 
Her brave soldier boy shall return not again. 

The wife, so devoted, so loyal and true. 

Has given her loved one a last long adieu; 

And now, when the sun shall sink low in the west, 

A fatherless babe she will clasp to her breast. 

The fair maiden betrothed, and dreaming of bliss, 
While on her lips lingers her lover's last kiss, 
The fond hope of her heart no more shall behold. 
He lies at Antietam, all lifeless and cold. 

The bright morning sun will rise in the sky, 

And look on the scene with a pitying eye. 

And weep for the loved ones, all bleeding and torn, 

Sad, wounded, forsaken, and dying forlorn. 

Earth quenches it's thirst with the blood of the slain. 
While the cyclone of death sweeps over the plain; 
And the war Demons dance in the moon's misty light, 
And mockingly laugh, as each soul takes its flight. 

246 New River Settlements 

Oh, bloody Antietam! oh, death dealing day! 
When the North and the South met in battle array 
On the banks of thy stream — in the gloom of thy shade, 
Where widows and orphans by thousands were made. 

As line after line, with a firm, steady tread, 
O'er the gory field charged over wounded and dead. 
Through the smoke of the battle, and its sulphurous breath, 
Pressed onward — still on — to the harvest of death. 

The "Bridge" Is now taken — though fearful the loss, 
And Burnside advances his columns across; 
As forward and backward the battle tide flows, 
A part of the field is abandoned to foes. 

As the smoke of the conflict -lifts over the scene 
Where the day's bloody struggle the hottest has been, 
And the red, gory field lies thickest — o'er spread 
With the wounded, and mangled, the dying and dead, 

'Twas here, lying helpless, at ebb of the tide, 

A soldier was left, on the fearful divide, 

'Twixt the camps of the fcemen where battle raged hot 

And the sharp shooter's rifle commanded each spot. 

The day's work was done, and the din of the fight 
Gave place to the darkness and gloom of the night; 
The pickets were ordered strict vigils to keep. 
While the weary combatants attempted to sleep. 

But alas for the wounded! — deserted, alone. 
Their couch the red field, and their pillow a stone! 
No "touch of the elbow," no kind "comrade" near 
To inspire them with courage, or speak words of cheer. 

All bleeding he lay, 'mid the dying and dead. 
While the earth echoed back to the sentinels' tread; 
And the grief burdened air gave vent to a groan, 
As upward it wafted some comrade's last moan. 

He thought of his home, of his friends far away. 
As through the long night he awaited the day. 
At length the sun rose, but to add to his grief. 
No kind, friendly hand came to give him relief. 

Thus forty long hours, all helpless he lay; 
Day gave place to night, and night changed into day! 
With his life current ebbing — while weaker each breath, 
He sighed but for "Water!"— for water or death. 

The thirst of the wounded^ — not pencil nor pen 
Can portray half its horrors; nor language of men; 
It's pangs may be felt but no tongue can tell, 
'Tis the acme of misery! — quintessence of Hell! 

For "Water!"— Oh Water!"— for Water the cry- 
While Antietam, her current rolls mockingly by. 
There faint and exhausted, in hopeless despair. 
He sniffs the foul stench of the war-burdened air! 

1861-1865 247 

at a glorious vision his eyes now behold! — 
■'reasure, more precious than silver, or gold, 
^^rinks at the fountain! — he bathes in the stream! 
^iwakens — Alas! — it was only a dream! 

Bu picket, a "Johnnie in Gray," it is true, 

Heg the cry of distress from the "Yankee in Blue," 

-^^m enmity vanished his soldierly heart 

■A-8 1 quickly resolved kind aid to impart. 

But igive the relief, he must creep 'mong the dead 
Throi-i the down trodden corn, where the earth was still red, 
Full closed to the sharpshooter's deadly aim. 
On hi&iission of mercy — he went and he came! 

Soon tlgiue and the Gray, whilom enemies, met; 

From tJ "Johnnie's" canteen, the "Yank's" lips were made wet, 

And as iQdness and gratitude readily blends, 

Two heag were made happy, two foes became friends; 

And the ;gei of mercy looked down from above 
With a piing eye, while a tear drop of love 
Cemented le friendship begun on that day, 
Where "Yakee" and "Reb" fought in hostile array. 

Of all the bvve deeds, on that battlefield done. 
None exceetd in bravery and kindness that one; 
And from tit day to this no friends were more true 
Than the "Jennie in Gray" and the "Yankee in Blue." 

General IV^ciellan's army began croseing the Potomac east 
of the Blue lidge and at Harper's Ferry in the last days of 
October, whia impelled General Lee to move to Culpeper, 
where he cont^ntrated the major part of his army about the 
first day of Nt^ember. 

While at Cuoeper in the early days of November, Pickett's 
division was oganized, and composed of the following Vir- 
ginia regiments viz : 

1st brigade ; 
Brigidier General James L. Kemper 
Regiments : 1st, 8rd, 7th 11th, and 24th Virginia, 

2nd brigade : 

Brigidier General R. B. Garnett 

Regiments : 8ih, 18th, 19th, 28th, and 56th Virginia 

3rd brigade 

Brigadier General Lewis A. Armistead 

Regiments : 9th, 14th, 38th, 53rd, and 57th Virginia 

248 New River Settlements 

4 th brigade 
Brigadier General Montgomery D. Corse 
Regiments : 15th, 17th, 29th, 30th, and 32nd Virginia 
And Jenkins' South Carolina brigade. To the division was^" 
tached Major James Bearing's battalion of artillery, and <S" 
key's, Stribling's and Latham's batteries. / 

In the last days of November the division marched fronr-^^^" 
peper over the Orange plank road to the hills overl(*^iiig 
Fredericksburg, where on the 11th of December it was ailed 
to arms to resist the enemy reported as crossing or th*3,ten- 
ing to cross the Rappahannock. The division stood to al^^ ^^" 
til early on the morning of the 13th, when it was marc^d to a 
position in the Confederate battle line on the right filter of 
Longstreet's corps, where it remained until about 1 olock, P. 
M., when Kemper's and Jenkins' brigades were maihed rap- 
idly to the relief of the Confederates holding Mayre'fHill, and 
who were being sorely pressed. The brigade of Ken^er moved 
forward into the line about dark, taking the placi of Cobb's 
Georgians and Cook's North Carolinians; remaijng during 
the night of the 13th, the day and night of the llth^ngaged for 
most of the time in brisk skirmishing with the enmy, who de- 
camped and crossed the river on the night of t^ 14th. The 
loss in the brigade was 46, of which there were fur in the 7th 
regiment, and seven in the 24th regiment. LewS N. Wiley of 
company D, of tlie 7th was wounded. Anotlie] "On to Rich- 
mond" movement had been scotched. / 

The enemy gone and the present danger haing passed, the 
troops retired to their respective camping places on the hills, 
south of Fredericksburg. The winter was severe, the men were 
without tents, but few blankets and numbers still without 
shoes, and not one in a dozen with an overoat, therefore poor- 
ly prepared for the winter blasts. Necessily, however, compels 
man to resort to almost any expedient tc make himself com- 
fortable, and the men erected rude wooden shanties out of tim- 
ber, placing one end in the ground, and slanting the other for- 

1861-1865 249 

ward resting on poles held up by forks or against trees, and 
the top of the timber or slabs covered with earth to the depth 
of several inches. In front they built their fires; some rolling 
away the logs that had been burning during the day, made 
their bed on the warm ground. Rawhide moccasins were sub- 
stituted for shoes. The regiments by detachments did picket 
duty off the river beyond Hamilton's Crossing, while the cav- 
alry watched the fords of the upper Rappahannock. 

During that long, dreary, cold winter while in the bivouac 
amid privation and suffering, not exceeded by that of Washing- 
ton's army at Valley Forge, the men freely discussed the ques- 
tion touching the war, its conduct, prospects for peace, etc. An 
ever abiding confidence in the justice of our cause, and the be- 
lief in its final triumph, coupled with and backed by invinci- 
ble, unconquerable spirits ever ready to brave the storm of 
battle, caused the sufferings and hardships to be treated as 
trival as compared with the great issue at stake. 

On January 20th the men were called from their quarters 
and marched up the Rappahannock in the direction of Bank's 
Ford, where it was reported that a portion of the Federal army 
was threatening to cross. Remaining out one night in the rain, 
snow and mud, returned to their camps, seeming to have 
marched up that hill for no other purpose than to march down 

At an early hour on the morning of Monday, February 16th, 
in the midst of snow, sleet and storm, Pickett's division took up 
its line of march heading towards Richmond. The march con- 
tinued to within about eight miles of that city, when a halt 
was made and the men rested for a few days, when they again 
marched, moving through the city to Chester station, on the 
Richmond & Petersburg Railroad. Here the command remain- 
ed until about the 1st of March, when it removed to a point 
about two miles south east of Petersburg, where it remained un- 
til March 25th, then was placed aboard a train of cars and pro- 
ceeded to Weldon, then to Goldsboro, and from thence to Kins- 
ton, North Carolina. Here the command did some scouting and 

250 New River Settlements 

picketing on tlie roads leading to Xewberne. Leaving Kinston 
on April 9th it moved by rail by way of Goldsboro to Weldon, 
and from thence marched to Suffolk, Virginia, reaching tliere 
on April 12th, and joining the Confederate forces of General 
Longstreet, then investing that place. It was from a train 
of cars on this journey that Manley Reece, of the Mercer 
company of the 24th Virginia regiment was knocked from the 
top of the train by an overhead bridge and killed. 

The principal object of the investment of the town of Suf- 
folk, seems to have been to keep the enemy closely confined 
within his lines immediately in and around that place and the 
city of Norfolk, and thus enable the Confederate Commissary 
Department to gather all available supplies for the army from 
the southeastern counties of Virginia, and to transport them 
into the interior for the use of our army. Beyond some severe 
skirmishes, nothing very important occurred during our stay 
around Suffolk. General Longstreet quietly withdrew his 
forces on the night of the 3rd of May, and marched to the vi- 
cinity of Chester Station, between Petersburg and Richmond. 
On our way from Suffolk to Petersburg we heard of the bat- 
tle of Chancellorville, the woundeing of General Jackson and 
later of his death. The command remained at Chester Station 
until about the middle of May, when Pickett's division march- 
ed through Richmond to Taylorsville and went into camp, 
where it remained and rested until tlie last of the month or 
the Ist day of June, when it marched across the Pamunkey into 
King and Queen County, returning in a day or two to its camp 
at Taylorsville. On the 2nd day of June the division was again 
in motion in the direction of Northern Virginia, and the move- 
ment continued until it reached, on the 10th, a point within 
about eight miles of Culpeper Court House, where it went into 
bivouac. Here had assembled, as was assembling, a large part 
of the army of Gen. Lee, including his cavalry corps under its 
matchless leader. General J. E. B. Stuart. 

The passionate ardor of our people for their country's cause 
had brought to the army nearly every man that was able to 

1861-1865 251 

perform active military duty in the field, so that but few addi- 
tions to the ranks could be hoped for. It was the largest num- 
ber of men, and composed of the best fighting material, that 
General Lee had yet, in fact ever led to battle. Most of them 
were men well inured to the service, and therefore well pre- 
pared to undergo the greatest hardship ; and by this time most 
of the cowards, of which there were few, had either gotten out 
of the army and gone home, or over to the enemy. As General 
Lee, at the head of this magnificent body of men, was passing 
through Clark County, in the Valley of Virginia, he dined with 
Dr. McGuire, and after dinner on mounting his horse and 
about to leave, the Doctor remarked to him, that he had never 
before felt confidence in the Southern cause, but was now en- 
couraged as he saw the army marching north. To which Gen- 
eral Lee quietly said, "Doctor, there marches the finest body of 
men that ever tramped upon the earth." This incident was re- 
lated to the author by Doctor Edwin McGuire of Kichmond. 
The usual orders to cook rations and prepare to move at a mo- 
ment's notice were given the men in their bivouac at Culpeper, 
and everything was bustle and confusion in preparation to 

Before proceeding to relate the movements of the army 
Northward it becomes necessary to go back to Western Vir- 
ginia and state what has been transpiring in that section. Af- 
ter the battle of Sharpsburg and the Confederates had retired 
south of the Potomac, General Stuart with a portion of his 
cavalry corps made a ride around the Federal army of the Po- 
tomac. On reaching his starting point about Cumberland, 
Maryland, he ascertained that the Federal General Cox with 
about 5,000 men had started for the valley of the Kanawha, to 
intercept or cut off General Loring, who was operating in the 
said valley with an army composed largely of New River Val- 
ley men. Loring being informed of this movement of General 
Cox, retired from the Valley of the Kanawha to the New River 
section. In Loring s command were a large number of men 
from the Counties of Giles, Mercer, Monroe, and Greenbrier. 

252 New River Settlements 

These men belonged largely to the 36th and GOth A^'irginia reg- 
iments of infantry and to the 23rd, 26th and 30th battalions 
of infantry, and to William H. French's battalion, afterwards 
17th regiment of cavalry. There was also along with General 
Loring two or more companies of Tazewell County men, one of 
which was that of Captain D. B. Baldwin, of the 23rd Virginia 
battalion. On Loring's return from the Valley of the Kana- 
wha, he was relieved by General John Echols, who soon there- 
after on account of ill health, was relieved by Major General 
Samuel Jones. During the winter of 1862-3 the 3Gth and 60th 
Virginia regiments with Otey's battery, and for a part of the 
time other troops,remained at Princeton,while another portion 
of the troops that had formed a part of Loring's command were 
stationed at the Narrows of New River, and some wintered in 
Monroe, and Greenbrier Counties, while the cavalry of Jen- 
kins' brigade in part sent their horses farther south to be win- 
tered, the most of the men remaining on duty on the outposts. 
Colonel William H. French took his comand to the county of 
Floyd and adjacent counties, where it remained until towards 
the opening of the spring of 1863, when it removed to Roanoke 
County, where the Colonel succeeded in completing the organ- 
ization of his regiment, which was attached to General Jenkins' 
brigade of cavalry, and later moved into the lower Valley of 
Virginia in the early days of June, leading the advance of Gen- 
eral Lee's army into Pennsylvania. The cavalry brigade of Jen- 
kins was composed of the 8th, 14th, 16th, 17th, 19th regiments, 
and the 34th, 36th and 37th battalions of cavalry. The Vir- 
ginia batteries of Chapman, Bryant, Otey, and Stamp were also 
a part of the army operating in southwestern and western Vir- 
ginia, and were in part composed of New River Valley men 
from the counties of Giles, Monroe, and Mercer. From Octo- 
ber, 1862, to the spring of 1863, the southwest Virginia coun- 
try and western Virginia, from the Tennessee line at Bristol 
to Staunton in the Valley, was kept in an almost constant state 
of excitement and alarm, on account of the frequent incur- 
sions of Federal raiding parties, and the march of larger bodies 

1861-1865 253 

of Federal troops into that territory. Small parties of Feder- 
al scouts and patrols, even in the cold winter months, pene- 
trated far into the interior, even within the Confederate line of 
outposts, and the country was filled with Federal spies, who 
kept their friends along the lines referred to fully posted as to 
the strength and movements of the Confederates. To some ex- 
tent this was likewise true of the Confederate scouts, patrols, 
and spies as to the movements of the Federals. A large part of 
the territory referred to was, on account of bad roads and 
swollen streams, almost wholly impracticable for military op- 
eration in the winter season. We left the army of Northern 
Virginia in its bivouac near Culpeper Court House. Pickett's 
division left its bivouac at the point above mentioned on Mon- 
day, the 15th day of June, the head of the column directed to- 
ward the Blue Ridge and Snicker's Gap, through which it pass- 
ed on the 20th, and crossed the Shenandoah at Castleman's fer- 
ry. Here it was detained for two or three days as well as at 
Berryville, for the purpose of remaining in supporting distance 
of the cavalry operating east of the Ridge. The division march- 
ed from Culpeper left in front, that it might by facing into line, 
meet the enemy at any moment. Gen. Ewell's corps in the ad- 
vance had routed Milroy at Winchester, and cleared the route 
for the rapid movement of the other troops following his corps. 
Longstreet's corps, which included Pickett's division, of which 
division only three of the brigades were on this march, contin- 
ued its movement through Martinsburg, by Falling Waters, and 
on the evening of Wednesday, June the 27th,it crossed the Poto- 
mac at Williamsport, and bivouaced a short distance out of 
the town, on the Maryland side of the river. The morale of 
the army was never better, officers and men alike were inspired 
with confidence in their ability to defeat the enemy wherever 
he might choose to offer battle. And never did an army move 
into an enemy's country in better fighting trim and spirit. It 
was doubtless this spirit of over-confidence that lost us the 
battle of Gettysburg. The men were in splendid condition, 
everything in firstclass order, no straggling, no desertion, no 

254 New River Settlements 

destruction of private property, no outrages committed upon 
citizens ; the orders of the commanding General on this subject 
were as a rule, strictly observed. Here was a grand, magnifi- 
cent spectacle ; a great army of effective men, and every man a 
soldier in the true sense of the word, the heroes of victories 
on more than a dozen fields; marching through the country of 
their enemy unobstructed and unopposed. 

The corps of General Longstreet continued its march on the 
25th to Hagerstown, where it halted to allow the corps of Gen- 
eral A, P. Hill, which had crossed at Shepherdstown, to pass to 
the front. On Saturday, the 27tli, the march was continued to 
Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, halting on the road on the outer 
edge of the town in front of the beautiful residence of Colonel 
McClure, where some ladies made their appearance and deliv- 
ered quite a spicy address or somewhat of a lecture, which was 
responded to with "Dixie" by the band of the 7th Virginia regi- 
ment. A few miles beyond the command halted and went into 
bivouac on the York road. During the 28th, 29th and 30th of 
June and 1st day of July the division of Pickett was engaged 
in the destruction of the track of the Cumberland Valley Rail- 
road. At near 2 o'clock, A. M., of Thursday, July 2nd, the long 
roll sounded and the men were soon under arms and in line, 
and moved promptly on the road leading to Gettysburg, the vi- 
cinity of which was, after a rapid and tiresome march of some 
twenty five miles, reached about 4 o'clock, P. M., and the divi- 
sioii went into bivouac about two miles from the town. The oth- 
er division of Longstreet's corps had preceded that of Pickett 
some hours, and had been in the fight the evening of the day of 
Pickett's arrival. A little before daylight on the morning of 
Friday, the 3rd, the division moved from its bivouac, on tlie 
road between Cash town and Gettysburg, to the right and 
along the valley of Willoughby's Run, reaching its battle line 
about 7 o'clock, A. M. The usual inspection of arms and ammu- 
nition took place. 

The brigades of Corse and Jenkins having been left in Vir- 
ginia, Pickett had but Garnett's, Armistead's and Kemper's 

1861-1805 255 

present, consisting of 15 regiments— all Virginians, numbering 
on that morning about 4500 muskets; the aggregate effective 
strength, rank and file, was close to 4700, which will be under- 
stood as including the General and staff officers. This division 
was composed of the flower of the Virginian army, many of 
them mere youths — schoolboys, of which a large number were 
from the New River Valley counties, viz: Montgomery, Carroll, 
Pulaski, Floyd, Giles and Mercer. In the division were com- 
panies from the counties of Campbell, Bedford, Franklin, Pat- 
rick, Henry, Craig, Madison, Culpeper, Orange, Rappahanock, 
Greene, Albemarle, Nansemond, Norfolk, Cities of Richmond, 
Lynchburg, Norfolk and Portsmouth. The first brigade was 
commanded by the gallant and impetuous General James L. 
Kemper, and was in front during the morning's march, and in 
battle line held the right, with Garnett's brigade on the left, 
and Armistead somewhat to the left and rear. 

Fencing and other obstructions were cleared away, and the 
line moved forward a short distance into a field on which was a 
growing crop of rye. Arms were stacked and instructions 
given that upon the report of two guns, which were to be sig- 
nals, the men were to lie flat upon the ground. In front of the 
division was massed the Confederate artillery, numbering 
about one hundred and fifty pieces. On the hills beyond and 
1400 yards, or a little more, away and in front, were something 
like an equal number of Federal guns, prepared and ready for 
the fray. The heat was exceedingly oppressive, and several of 
the men had sunstroke, and all suffered more or less for water. 
It was past one o'clock when the report of the two signal guns 
rang out upon the air, and down upon their faces went the 
men, and then began and continued for nearly two hours the 
most terrific and destructive artillery duel that ever occurred 
on the face of the earth. The atmosphere was broken by the 
rush and crash of projectiles, solid shot, shrieking, bursting 
shells. The sun, so brilliant before, was now darkened by 
smoke and mist enveloping and shadowing the earth, through 
which came hissing and shrieking firey fuses and messengers of 

25(5 New River Settlements 

death, sweeping, plunging, cutting, ploughing through tlie 
ranks, carrying mutilation, destruction, pain, suffering, and 
death in every direction. Whithersoever you might look could 
be seen at almost every moment muskets, swords, haversacks, 
human flesh and bones flying and dangling in the air or bounc- 
ing above the earth, which now trembled as if shaken by an 
earthquake. It was afterwards stated by the teamsters and 
cooks, who were two and three miles away, that the sash in the 
windows of the houses where they were shook and chattered as 
if caused by a violent wind. Over, behind, in front, in the midst, 
and through the ranks, poured shot and shell and the frag- 
ments thereof, dealing out death on every hand. 

The men remained in their places, except those knocked out 
by shot or shell, and when the firing ceased, at about a quarter 
past 3 o'clock, and the order came to fall in, the men sprang 
quickly to their places, ready to move at the word. General 
Pickett came dashing along calling out, "Up, men, and to your 
posts ; don't forget today that you are from Old Virginia." At 
the order forward, tlie three brigades moved up the hill by the 
batteries and across the open as steadily as troops ever moved 
under fire. The fresh batteries of the enemy now opened at 
short range, and from sheltered positions poured a destructive 
fire into these advancing columns, the Federal batteries on the 
Round Top enfilading the Confederate line as it advanced. The 
enemy had covered his front by a heavy line of skirmishers, 
which withdrew as the Confederates advanced. Hancock's sec- 
ond Federal army corps, abou^t 18,000 strong, held the lines 
which Pickett's division assailed, and as the line approached 
the stone wall behind which lay these men of Hancock's, it was 
met by a most scathing fire, which killed and wounded not less 
than twenty-five per centum of Pickett's men. Notwithsand- 
ing this fire, not stopping, but with a rush they went over Han- 
cock's line: 

"Now they climb the mountain height 
And plant the flag of freedom's right." 

In the headlong rush over the Federal line they had captured 

1861-1865 257 

a large number of guns, and had effected a lodgment which 
only needed a strong helping hand for a short while and the 
Federal army would have been cut in twain, and must have 
rapidly retreated or been destroyed. Pickett's division had made 
a great and daring charge, but had been repulsed; and what 
remained had to retire to the point from which the advance be- 
gan. Here Generals Lee and Pickett rallied and reformed the 
men to meet what was supposed to be an advance of the enemy. 
It was while this rally and reformation was taking place that 
General Pickett complained so bitterly of the treatment of his 
division in not being properly supported and the fearful loss it 
had sustained; and which called forth the noble response of 
the great soul of Lee that ''Its all my fault." It was here, at the 
same time, that a boy by the name of Belcher, from Franklin 
County, bearing the flag of the 24th Virginia regiment, address- 
ing General Pickett, said, "General, shall we charge them 
again ?" It was also at this moment that General Kemper was 
being carried by, dreadfully wounded, that Pickett's anguish 
was so great that he wept, and then it was that General Lee 
made the statement above, "It's all my fault." Noble words 
from a noble man ! 

It may be truthfully said that no commander of a great 
army so universally and deservedly enjoyed the perfect love, 
confidence and esteem of his men, and that no General had 
higher conception of the manliness and valor of his troops, and 
no body of men that ever tramped on the earth followed its 
leader with such supreme devotion as the men who followed 
General Lee ; it was akin to that expressed by Ruth for Naomi : 
"Entreat me not to leave thee or to return from following after 
thee, for whither thou goest I will go ; and where thou lodgest 
I will lodge; thy people shall be my people, and thy God my 
God. Where thou diest I will die and there will I be buried." 
No higher earthly tribute could be paid to a man than that to 
General Lee by Senator Ben Hill, of Georgia, in which he said : 
"He was a foe without hate, a friend without treachery, a sol- 
dier without cruelty, and a victim without murmuring. He 

358 New Kiver Settlements 

was a public oflScer without vices, a private citizen without 
wrong, a neighbor without reproach, a Christian without hyp- 
ocrisy, and a man without guile. He was a Caesar without 
his ambition, Frederick without his tyranny, Napoleon without 
his selfishness, and Washington without his reward. He was 
as obedient to authority as a servant, and royal in authority as 
a King. He was as gentle as a woman in life, pure and modest 
as a virgin in thought, watchful as a Roman Vestal, submissive 
to law as Socrates, and grand in battle as Achilles." No 
less deserving is the tribute of Mr. Charles Francis Adams, 
who said in seaking of General Lee: "He represented and 
individualized all that was highest and best in Southern mind 
and the Confederate cause, — the loyalty to state, the keen 
sense of humor and personal obligation, the slightly archaic, 
the almost patriarchal love of dependent family and home. 
He was a Virginian of the Virginians. He represents a 
type which is gone — hardly less extinct than that of the great 
English Noblemen of the feudal times, or the ideal head of the 
Scotch clan of a later period ; but just as long as men admire 
courage, devotion, patriotism, the high sense of duty and per- 
sonal honor — all, in a word, which go to make up what we 
know as character — just so long will that type of a man be 
held in affectionate, reverential memory." 

Long since the close of our civil strife, numbers of ex-Fed- 
eral soldiers are beginning to pay just tribute to the gallantry 
and devotion of the Confederate soldier. Among the ex-Fed- 
erals who have written on the battle of Gettysburg is Mr. 
Charles A. Pacta, of Massachusetts, who not long since pub- 
lished an article in a newspaper, containing a description of 
the charge of Pickett's division at Gettysburg on July 3rd, 
1803, in which he says : 

''In all great wars involving the destinies of nations, it is 
neither the number of battles, nor the names, nor the loss of 
life, that remain fixed in the mind of the masses; but simply 
the one decided struggle which either in its immediate or re- 

1861-1865 259 

mote sequence closes the conflict. Of the one hundred battles 
of the great Napoleon, Waterloo alone lingers in the memory. 
The Franco-Prussian war, so fraught with changes to Europe, 
presents but one name that will never fade — Sedan. Even in 
our own country, how few battles of the Revolution can we 
enumerate; but is there a child who does not know that 
Bunker's Hill sounded the death knell of English rule in the 
land? And now but twenty years since the greatest conflict 
of modern times was closed at Appomattox, how few can we 
readily recall of the scores of blood-stained battle fields on 
which our friends and neighbors fought and fell; but is there 
one, old or young, cultured or ignorant, of the North or of the 
South, than cannot speak of Gettysburg? But what is Get- 
tysburg, either in its first day's Federal defeat, or its second 
day's terrible slaughter around Little Round Top, without 
the third day's immortal charge by Pickett and his brave Vir- 
ginians? In it we have the culmination of the rebellion. It 
took long years after to drain all the life-blood from the foe, 
but never again did the wave of rebellion rise so gallantly 
high, as when it beat upon the crest of Cemetery Ridge. The 
storming of the heights of Inkerman, the charge of the noble 
Six Hundred, the fearful onslaught of the Guards at Water- 
loo, the scaling of Lookout Mountain — have all been sung in 
story, and perhaps always will be; but they all pale beside 
the glory that will ever enshroud the heroes who, with per- 
haps not literally Cannon to right of them and cannon to left 
of them, but with a hundred cannons belching forth death in 
front of them, hurled themselves into the center of a great 
army, and had victory almost within their grasp. 

''To describe this charge, we will go back to the evening of 
the 2nd of July, and recall upon what basis the cautious Lee 
could undertake so fearful a responsibility. The victorious 
Southrons, fresh from their triumphs at Fredericksburg and 
Chancellorsville, had entered the North, carrying consterna- 
tion and dismay to every hamlet, with none to oppose; their 
forward march was one of spoil, and it was not until the 1st 

2(>0 New River Settlements 

of July that they met their old foemen, the Army of the Poto- 
mac, in the streets of Gettysburg, and after a fierce conflict 
drove them back. The second day's conflict was a terrible 
slaughter, and at its close the Federal army, although holding 
its position, was to a certain extent disheartened. Many of 
our best Generals and commanding oflkers were killed or 
wounded, scores of regiments and batteries were nearly 
wiped out. Sickles' line was broken and driven in and its posi- 
tion was held by Longstreet. Little Round Top, the key of the 
position, was held at a frightful loss of life, and Ewell upon 
the right had gained a footing upon the ridge. The Rebel army 
was joyful and expectant of victory. 

"The morning of the 3rd of July opened clear and bright, 
and one hundred thousand men faced each other, awaiting the 
signal of conflict; but, except the pushing of Ewell from his 
position, the hours passed on, relieved only by the rumbling 
of artillery carriages as they were massed by Lee upon Semi- 
nary Ridge, and by Meade upon Cemetery Ridge. At 12 
o'clock Lee ascended the cupola of the Pennsylvania College, 
in quiet surveyed the Union lines, and decided to strike for 
Hancock's center. Meanwhile, Pickett with his three Virginia 
brigades had arrived from Chambersburg and taken cover in 
the woods of Seminary Ridge. What Lee's feeling must have 
been, as he looked at the hundred death-dealing cannon massed 
on Cemetery Hill, and the fifty thousand men waiting patiently 
in front and behind them, men whose valor he knew well in 
many a bitter struggle — and then looked at his handful of 
brave Virginians, three small, decimated brigades which he 
was about to hurl into that vortex of death — no one will ever 
know. The blunder that sent the Light Brigade to death at 
Ralakava was bad enough, but here was five thousand men 
waiting to seek victory where only the day before ten thousand 
had lost their lives or their limbs in the same futile endeavor. 

''Leaving the college, Lee called a council of his Generals 
at Longstreet's head(}uarters, and the plan of attack was 
formed. It is said that the level-headed Longstreet opposed 

1861-1865 261 

the plan, and if so it was but in keeping with his remarkable 
generalship. The attack was to be opened with artillery fire 
to demoralize and batter the Federal line, and was to be open- 
ed by a signal of two shots from the Washington Artillery. 
At half past one the report of the first gun rang out on the 
still summer air, followed a minute later by the second, and 
then came the roar and flash of one hundred and thirty-eight 
Rebel cannon. Almost immediately one hundred Fedreal guns 
responded and the battle had begun. Shot and shell tore 
through the air, crashing through batteries, tearing men and 
horses to pieces; the very earth seemed to shake and the hills 
to reel as the terrible thunders re-echoed amongst them. For 
nearly an hour every conceivable form of ordnance known to 
modern gunnery hissed and shrieked, whistled and screamed 
as it went forth on its death mission, till, exhausted by excite- 
ment and heat, the gunners slackened their fire and silence 
reigned again. 

"Then Pickett and his brave legions stood up and formed for 
the death-struggle; three remnants of brigades, consisting of 
Garnett's brigade — the Eighth, Eighteenth, Nineteenth, Twen- 
ty-eighth, Fifty-sixth Virginia; Armistead's brigade — the 
Ninth, Fourteenth, Thirty-eighth, Fifty-third, Fifty-seventh 
Virginia; Kemper's brigade — First, Third, Seventh, Eleventh, 
Twenty-fourth Virginia. Their tattered flags bore the scars 
of a score of battles, and from their ranks the merciless bullet 
had already taken two-thirds their number. 

"In compact ranks, their front scarcely covering two of Han- 
cock's brigades, with flags waving as if for a gala day, Gen- 
eral Pickett saluted Longstreet and asked, "Shall I go for- 
ward, sir?" but it was not in Longstreet's heart to send those 
heroes of so many battles to certain death, and he turned 
away his head — when Pickett, with that proud impetuous air 
which had earned him the title of the 'Ney of the Rebel army,' 
exclaimed : "Sir, I shall lead my division forward !" The 
orders now rang out, "Attention ! Attention !" and the men 
realizing the end was near, cried out to their comrades: "Good- 

2(52 New Kiver Settlements 

bye boys, good-bye I" Suddenly rang on the air the final order 
from Pickett himself, and his saber flashed from its scabbard — 
''Column forward, guide center!" And the Brigades of Kem- 
per, Garnett and Armistead moved toward Cemetery Ridge 
as one man. Soon Pettigrew's division emerged from the 
woods and followed in echelon on Pickett's left flank, and 
Wilcox with his Alabama division moved out to support his 
right flank — in all, about fifteen thousand men. The selection 
of these supports shows a lack of judgment which it would 
almost seem impossible for Lee to have made. Pettigrew's 
division was composed mostly of new troops from North Caro- 
lina, and had been terribly used up in the first day's fight and 
were in no condition to form part of a forlorn hope. Wilcox's 
troops had also received severe punishment in the second 
day's engagement in his attack on the Ridge, and should have 
been replaced by fresh, well tried brigades. But the movement 
had now begun, and Lee with his generals about him watched 
anxiously for the result. 

"It was nearly a mile to the Union lines, and as they ad- 
vanced over the open plain the Federal artillery opened again, 
plowing great lanes tlirough their solid ranks, but they closed 
up to guide center as if upon dress parade; w^hen half way 
over Pickett halted his division, amidst a terrible fire of shot 
and shell, and changed his direction by an oblique movement, 
coolly and beautifully made. But here occurred the greatest 
mistake of all. ^^llcox paid no attention to this change of 
movement, but kept straight on to the front, thus opening a 
tremendous gap between the two columns and exposing Pick- 
ett's right to all the mishaps that afterward overtook it. To 
those wlio have ever faced artillery fire it is marvellous and 
unexplainable how human beings could have advanced under 
the terrific fire of a hundred cannon, every inch of air 
being ladened with the missiles of death; but in splendid 
formation they still came bravely on till within range of the 
musketry; then the blue line of Hancock's corps rose and 
poured into their rank a murderous fire. With a wild yell 

1861-1865 263 

the Rebels pushed on unfalteringly, crossed the Federal line 
and laid hands upon eleven cannon. Men fired in each other's 
faces; there were bayonet thrusts, cutting with sabres, hand- 
to-hand contests, oaths, curses, yells and hurrahs. The second 
corps fell back behind the guns to allow the use of grape and 
double canister, and as it tore through the Rebel ranks, at 
only a few paces distance, the dead and wounded were piled 
in ghastly heaps. Still on they came, up to the very muzzles 
of the guns; they were blown away from the cannon's mouth, 
but yet they did not waver. Pickett had taken the key to the 
position and the glad shout of victory was heard ; as, the very 
impersonation of a soldier, he still forced his troops to the 
crest of Cemetery Ridge. 

"Kemper and Armistead broke through Hancock's line, 
scaled the hill and planted their flag on its crest. Just before 
Armistead was shot, he placed his flag upon a captured can- 
non and cried: "Give them the cold steel, boys," but valor 
could do no more, the handful of braves had won immortality, 
but could not conquer an army. Pettigrew's weak division 
was broken, fleeing and almost annihilated. Wilcox, owing 
to his great mistake in separating his column, was easily routed, 
and Stannard's Vermonters, thrown into the gap, were creat- 
ing havoc on Pickett's flank. Pickett seeing his supports gone, 
his generals, Kemper, Armistead, and Garnett killed or wound- 
ed, every field ofiicer of the three brigades gone, three-fourths 
of his men killed or captured, himself untouched, but broken- 
hearted, gave the order for retreat, but, band of heroes as they 
were, they fled not; but amidst that still continuous, terrible 
fire, they slowly, sullenly recrossed the plain — all that was 
left of them, but few of five thousand. 

"Thus ended the greatest charge known to modern warfare; 
made in the most unequal manner against a great army, and 
midst the most terrible cannonade known in wars, and yet so 
perfect was the discipline, so audacious the valor, that had 
this handful of Virginians been properly supported they would 
perhaps have rendered the Federal position untenable, and 

264 New River Settlements 

possibly have established the Southern Confederacy. While 
other battlefields are upturned by the plough and covered with 
waving grain, Cemetery Ridge will forever proudly uphold its 
monuments, telling of glory both to the Blue and the Gray, 
and our children's children, while standing upon its crest, will 
rehearse again of Pickett's wonderful charge." 

In the article just quoted, injustice is done to Pettigrew's 
North Carolinians, as it is known that one or more of his 
brigades, especially that of General Lane, behaved as gal- 
lantly and as bravely as any brigade in that charge, and de- 
serve as much credit and praise. 

The army remained on the battlefield during the 4th, that 
night, and early on the morning of the 5th it withdrew 
through the passes of the mountain, retiring on Hagerstown 
and Williamsport, where it remained in battle line until the 
night of the 13th, not being able to cross the Potomac on ac- 
count of its swollen condition. Longstreet's and Hill's corps 
passed over the bridge, while Ewell's forded the river at Wil- 
liamsport; the three corps going into bivouac in the neighbor- 
hood of Bunker's Hill, where they remained for several days. 
Pickett's division on its retirement from the battlefield, and 
on its march to Winchester, Virginia, had charge of about 
4,000 Federal prisoners, captured during tlie three days en- 
gagements at Gettyburg. 

The total loss of this division in the battle of the 3rd, was 
2888, of which 224 were killed, 1080 wounded, and 1584 cap- 
tured or missing. The loss in Kemper's brigade was 729. The 
7th Virginia regiment lost 67 killed and wounded, and the 
24th Virginia lost 128 killed and wounded. The loss of 
the division in general and field officers was frightful. Brig- 
adier General Garnett was killed, Armistead mortally and 
Kemper dangerously wounded. Of the whole complement of 
general and field officers, aggregating about 48, only one. Lieu- 
tenant Colonel was left unhurt. The color bearer of tlie 7th 
Virginia regiment, with his eight color sergeants and cor- 

1861-1865 265 

porals, went down in the battle, either killed or wounded ; the 
colors falling into the hands of the 82nd New York Infantry, 
commanded by Captain John Darrow. There went into the 
battle of Company D, 7th Virginia regiment, 31 men, of which 
17 were killed and wounded. The killed were, David C. Akers, 
Jesse Barrett, Daniel Bish, and John P. Sublett; the wounded, 
Lieutenant Elisha M. Stone, and Elijah R. Walker, Sergeants 
Thomas S. Taylor and David E. Johnston, the latter severely, 
Corporal J. B. Young, and privates William C. Fortner, James 
H. Fortner, leg amputated, John Meadows, and D, L. Sarver; 
John W. Hight was taken prisoner. No data is at hand as to 
the names of the killed and wounded in the Giles company 
of the 24th Virginia, but the names of the Mercer County com- 
pany in that regiment who were killed or wounded, are as fol- 
lows, viz: Killed, Charles Burroughs, Squire Cook, James 
Kinney, Jesse Parsons, B. W. Peck, and J. P. Thomas; wound- 
ed. Captain H. Scott, H. French Calfee, mortally, Jordon Cox, 
Robert A. George, A. J. Holstein, Rufus G. Rowland, James 
Snead, and Levi Vermillion ; total, fourteen. 

General Pickett was greatly distressed over the losses in 
his divison, and wrote his report, which contained matter 
which General Lee thought for the good of the service ought 
not to be published, and hence returned the report to General 
Pickett, suggesting tlie omission of the objectional matter, and 
in his letter returning said report, says: ''You and your men 
have crowned yourself with glory, but we have the enemy to 
fight, and must carefully at this critical moment guard 
against dissensions, which the reflections in your report would 
create. I will therefore suggest that you destroy both copy 
and original, substituting one confined to casualties merely. 
I hope all will yet be well." The report was never published. 
It is supposed that General Pickett had seriously reflected 
upon some one touching the disaster which befell his heroic 
and gallant veterans at Gettysburg, who so bravely and freely 
had sacrificed their lives upon the altar of their country. 
Well mav it be said of them : 

266 New River Settlements 

"Spartans at Thermopylae, 
Fought and died for liberty, 
But no richer legacy 
Left posterity." 

General A. G. Jenkins' cavalry brigade led the advance of 
the army into Pennsylvania, and was at Gettysburg, but there 
does not appear any official report showing its losses, if it sus- 
tained any. 

French's battery remained around the defenses of Richmond 
during the Gettysburg campaign. 

Notice must now be taken of affairs in Western Virginia. 
Major General Samuel Jones was in command of this depart- 
ment, and in whose command were the brigades of Echols, 
Williams, Wharton, and McCausland; constituted as follows, 
viz : First brigade. General John Echols, 22nd, 45th, Virginia 
Regiment; 23rd and 26th Virginia battalions, and Chapman's 
Virginia battery. Second Brigade, General John S. Williams, 
63rd Virginia regiment, 64th Virginia regiment, 45th Virginia 
battalion, 21st Virginia cavalry, Virginia Partisan Rangers, 
and Lowry's Virginia battery. Third brgade. General G. C. 
Wharton, 50th and 51st Virginia Regiments, 30th Virginia 
battalion,and Stamp's Virginia battery. Fourth brigade. Gen- 
eral John McCausland, 36th and 60th Virginia regiments, and 
Bryn's Virginia Battery; with Jenkins' cavalry brigade, con- 
sisting of the 8th, 14th, 16th, 17th and 19th Virginia regiments, 
and 34th, 36th, and 37th Virginia battalions of cavalry, to- 
gether with some unattached troops, viz: Trigg's 54th Vir- 
ginia regiment, two Virginia companies of Partisan Rangers, 
commanded by Captains Philip J. Thurmond and William D. 
Thurmond, respectively, and Otey's Virginia battery; number- 
ing in the aggregate about 10,000 men, and guarding the ter- 
ritory and border stretching from Bristol to Staunton. In 
the winter of 1862-3, and up to March of the latter year, these 
troops were in camp at various points in the district of coun- 
try mentioned. Wharton at the Narrows, Echols and Wil- 
liams in Monroe and Greenbrier section, later General Wil- 

1861-1865 267 

liams at Saltville, and General McCausland's command at 

In March General Jones planned quite a formidable expedi- 
tion into Northwestern Virginia, and the Kanawha Valley, 
sending a portion of his troops into the Nicholas County sec- 
tion, and northward thereof. A portion of the cavalry of Jen- 
kins was sent from Tazewell through McDowell, and towards 
the Ohio; and General McCausland to Fayetteville, but the 
whole affair amounted to but little. In the early part of 
May the 26th Virginia battalion, under Edgar, defeated at or 
near Lewisburg a portion of the 2nd West Virginia cavalry 
regiment. Later the cavalry brigade of Jenkins, except the 
8th regiment and Dunn's battalion, was withdrawn from the 
Western Virginia department, and sent to the Valley of Vir- 
ginia, preparatory to the march into Pennsylvania. And in 
July of this same year, 1863, the brigade of Wharton was also 
sent to the Valley of Virginia. About the middle of July the 
brigade of McCausland, stationed in Raleigh County, at the 
crossing of Piney River, was, by a force of the enemy, com- 
pelled to abandon its position, and retreat upon Princeton. 
This force which threatened McCausland was under the im- 
mediate command of the Federal Colonel Toland, who had with 
him the 2nd Virginia cavalry, the 34th regiment of Ohio vol 
unteer infantry, and a detachment of the 1st Virginia cavalry ; 
these troops had left the Kanawha and crossed onto Coal River, 
and thence to Raleigh Court House, and to the front and 
flank of McCausland's command which impelled his retreat. 

The Federals then returned to Coal River, and marched by 
way of Wyoming Court House into Tazewell County, capturing 
at the head of Abb's Valley, Captain Joel E. Stolling and his 
company, which were re-captured on the next day by a bold 
charge made by Colonel A. J. May, at the head of his Kentucky 
cavalry. The Federals marched rapidly upon Wytheville, then 
virtually unprotected, entering the same on the evening of the 
18th, when a sharp, brisk fight occurred between the enemy and 
about 130 men badly armed, under Majors Boyer and Bosang, 

268 New Kiver Settlements 

and Captain Oliver with the aid of a few of the citizens of 
the town. The enemv after the loss of Colonel Toland, who 
was killed, Colonel Powell dangerously wounded and left a 
prisoner, and having some 75 or 80 men killed, wounded and 
captured, retired from the town, first setting it on fire. The 
Confederates lost three killed, seven wounded, and about 75 
captured, including some of the citizens of the town. The 
Confederates endeavored to intercept and capture this raiding 
party, by sending troops on and along its most probable routes 
of retreat. Colonel May, with a portion of his 5th Kentucky 
regiment, together with Captain Henry Bowen, commanding 
a company of Tazewell County men of the 8th Virginia cav- 
alry, followed closely, having several collisions and smart 
skirmishing with its rear guard, but unable to force tlie party 
to halt and fight. They finally succeeded in eluding the Con- 
federates, by taking unfrequented paths through Crabtree's 
gap, over East River Mountain by W. H. Witten's farm, Pealed 
Chestnuts and over the mountain which led them on to the Tug 
fork of Sandy, where they were virtually free from successful 

The Federal Brigadier General Averill having set out from 
Winchester, Virginia, on the 5th day of August, 1863, with a 
large force of cavalry and mounted infantry, for the purpose 
of making a raid into the Greenbrier Valley, and of reaching 
the Virginia and Tennessee Railroad, marched his command 
across the mountains into Pocahontas County, where he en- 
countered Colonel William L. Jackson with the 19th Virginia 
Cavalrv, whose command he attacked and drove over the moun- 
tain toward Warm Springs. 

General G. C. Wharton's brigade, which had been so ordered 
came over by Staunton to the Jackson River country to meet 
Averill, who rather suddenly turned back, changing his course 
toward Lewisburg, when on the 26th of August, about one 
and one-half miles east of the White Sulphur Springs, he 
rather unexpectedly encountered a Confederate force under 
the command of Colonel George S. Patton, consisting of the 

1861-1865 269 

22nd and 45tli regiments of Virginia infantry, the 23rd and 
26th battalions of Virginia infantry, the 8th regiment of Vir- 
ginia cavalry, the 37th battalion of Virginia caivalry and 
Chapman's Monroe County battery of four guns. General 
Averill had with him the 16th Illinois cavalry, Company C, 
14th Pennsylvania cavalry, 3rd West Virginia cavalry, detach- 
ment 2nd West Virginia mounted infantry, 3rd West Vir- 
ginia mounted infantry, 8th West Virginia mounted infantry 
and two West Virginia batteries of six guns. The fight con- 
tinued from early in the morning on the 26th until about noon 
of the 27th, when the enemy drew off, blocking the roads be- 
hind him and rendering rapid pursuit impossible, and it had 
to be abandoned. The Confederate loss was 162; that of the 
enemy 218. The 23rd Virginia battalion of infantry lost three 
killed and 18 wounded. Mercer County had one company, 
Lilley's, in the 23rd battalion, and Tazewell County had one 
company in the 8th Virginia cavalry regiment, and Captain 
D. B. Baldwin's company in the 23rd battalion. 

Colonel Robert C. Trigg's 54th regiment of Virginia infantry 
and Colonel James M. French's 63rd Virginia regiment of 
infantry, served in the Chickamauga and other subsequent 
campaigns in the Southwest under Generals Bragg and Hood. 
In these two regiments were a large number of New River 
men, and they made records as good and brave soldiers, ac- 
quitting themselves with great credit in all the battles in 
which they were engaged. 

In the early days of November, 1863, General Averill start- 
ing out from Beverly with about three thousand men, passed 
over into Pocahontas County and attacked Colonel William 
L. Jackson's 19th Virginia regiment of cavalry near Mill Point, 
and compelled it to retire to Droop Mountain, where it was rein- 
forced by General Echols with the 22nd Virginia Regiment of 
infantry, the 23rd Virginia battalion of infantry, a part of the 
14th Virginia regiment of cavalry, Lurty's and Chapman's bat- 
teries, aggregating about 1900 men. The command of General 
Averill consisted of the 3rd Independent company of Ohio 

270 New River Settlements 

cavalry, 28th Ohio infantry, 2nd, 3rd, and 8tli West Virginia 
mounted infantry ,and the lOth West Virginia regiment of 
infantry. After a contest of about six hours duration, the 
Confederate left having been turned, General Echols with- 
drew from the contest and retired through Lewisburg and 
Union, crossing Salt Pond mountain. The Confederate loss 
in this engagement was 275; among the slain being the gal- 
lant Major R. A. Bailey of the 22nd regiment, and among the 
wounded was the brave and daring Captain John K. Thomp- 
son of the same regiment. The Federal loss was 119. Wliile 
General Echols was engaged in the battle of Droop Mountain, 
a force of about 1,000 men under the Federal Brigadier Gen- 
eral A. N. DuflSe, was advancing upon the Kanawha road to 
Lewisburg, and which threatened to cut off or intercept 
Echol's retreat. The force from the Kanawha left Charleston 
on the 3rd of November, and entered Lewisburg on the morn- 
ing of the 7th, a few hours after the command of General 
Echols had passed that point. 

General DuflSe on his way from the Kanawha, was joined at 
Tyree's by Colonel White with two regiments of infantry, and 
on reaching Lewisburg joined General Averill's forces, bring- 
ing their aggregate up to about 5,000 men. The Federals fol- 
lowed the retreating troops of Echols to Second Creek in 
Monroe County, and then retraced their steps by way of 
Meadow Bluff, and in the direction of Beverly. 

General Averill, seemingly not satisfied with his previous 
attempts to reach the Virginia and Tennessee Railroad, set out 
again for that purpose from New Creek on the 8th day of 
December with about the same command and same number of 
men that he had with him in the battle of Droop Mountain. 
This time he struck for Salem, Virginia, by the most obscure 
and mountainous routes he could find. He reached Salem on 
the 16th, destroyed some portions of the railroad track and 
small bridges, burned a considerable quantity of Confederate 
commissary stores, and retired beyond tlie mountains with a 
loss of 119 men. At the time of Averill's advance to Salem, 

1861-1865 271 

General Scammon from the Kanawha, had advanced to and 
occupied Lewisburg, but soon retired. 

Wharton's command had marched from about Covington 
late in 1863 to the Narrows, and from thence by way of Dublin 
to East Tennessee, where it joined General Longstreet's com- 
mand ; retiring with it to the neighborhood of Bristol, took up 
winter quarters at Saltville, where it remained until about the 
1st of May, 1864, when it moved to the Valley of Virginia. 

General McCausland's command, 36th and 60th Virginia 
regiments, and other troops, including Bryan's battery win- 
tered at the Narrows, while the brigade of Echols spent the 
winter in Monroe County. The cavalry brigade of Jenkins 
during the winter was for the most part on outpost duty in 
connection with the two Thurmond companies. A part, how- 
ever, of Jenkins' men were in East Tennessee, where on the 
13th day of November, 1863, Corn's 8th Virginia cavalry had a 
spirited engagement with the enemy, in connection with Colonel 
Giltner's Kentucky cavalry, in which the enemy was defeated 
with loss; the 8th Virginia regiment losing one killed and 
three wounded, and capturing the enemy's wagon train and 
over 300 prisoners. In December, 1863, Colonel Slemp's 64th 
Virginia regiment, was driven with loss out of Jonesville, Vir- 
ginia, by the 16th Illinois cavalry. With the closing of these 
as the principal events the campaign in Western Virginia and 
in East Tennessee ended for the year of 1863. 

General Lee's army of Northern Virginia, on its return from 
Gettysburg, had encamped, as heretofore stated, at Bunker's 
Hill, and in that vicinity. On the 9th of July Pickett's divis- 
ion turned over the Federal prisoners, which were captured 
at Gettysburg, to the command of General Imboden, and 
reached camp at Bunker's Hill on the 15th, where it remained 
until the 19th, and then removed to Smith field, in Jefferson 
County. On the 20th it marched to Millwood, and thence to 
Berry's Ferry on picket duty, and from here on the 21st 
marched through Front Royal to Chester Gap. On the 22nd 
it marched all night, reaching Gaines' Cross-roads at daylight 

272 New River Settlements 

on the 23rd, and tliat night bivouaced at Hazel River. On the 
24th it passed tlirough Culpeper Court House and went into 
camp near the Rapidan. On August 4th Longstreet's and 
Hill's corps crossed to the South side of the Rapidan, and went 
into camp in the County of Orange. 

The Federal General Meade, in command of the Federal 
army of the Potomac, having advanced his troops into Cul- 
peper County, and thrown his vanguard out to the Rapidan; 
General Lee made up his mind to strike him by a flank move- 
ment, on his right, by way of Madison Court House, and set 
out with the army of Northern Virginia about the second week 
in October. The Federal General immediately withdrew north 
of the Rappahannock, and finally behind Bull Run, whither Lee 
followed, and then retired to his winter quarters in Orange. 
The principal fighting on this expedition was by the cavalry. 
Longstreet's corps, except Pickett's division, had, on the 9th 
of September, been detached from the army of Northern Vir- 
ginia and sent to General Bragg, in Tennessee, and therefore 
was not with General Lee in his advance against General 
Meade in October, On the return of General Lee's army to its 
quarters in Orange, Pickett's division was sent to Taylorsville, 
Virginia, to rest and recuperate. It spent the early part of 
the winter at this place. 

Captain David A. French, with a section of his battery, and 
other troops under the command of Colonel A. W. Starke, on 
August 5th, 1863, marched to Blake's farm, near Deep Bottom 
on James River, where quite a severe engagement took place 
with Federal gunboats, which were driven otf ; after which the 
command marched to Pickett's farm at Turkey Island, where 
the attack was renewed on the Federal boats. In these engage- 
ments, the loss in French's company was three wounded, viz: 
Boston Bailey, Henley Clyburn, and Eustace Gibson, the lat- 
ter reported to have been mortally wounded, but he recovered 
and lived for many years, and became a prominent man in 
West Virginia politics, having served two terms in Congress 
from the Huntington district. 

1861-1865 273 

General Pickett having been assigned to the command of the 
department of North Carolina, Kemper's brigade, now com- 
manded by Colonel Joseph Mayo, Jr., (Kemper having been 
disabled at Gettysburg), on the 8th day of January, 1864, 
broke camp at Taylorsville, and took up its line of march 
through Kichmond and on to Petersburg, where it was put 
aboard a railroad train and transported to Goldsboro, North 
Carolina, where it remained but a few days. On Saturday, 
the 29th, the brigade marched to Kingston on the Neuse, and 
thence through bogs, swamps, and mud, crossing the Trent to 
the vicinity of Newberne, where some Federal prisoners were 
taken and a gunboat blown up by Lieutenant Wood, of the 
Confederate Navy. Among the captured prisoners were some 
35 of the 2nd Loyal North Carolina regiment, and who had 
been Confederate soldiers, but had deserted and joined the 
enemy. They were recognized, sent to Kinston, tried by 
Court Martial, condemned and hung. About the middle of 
February, 1864, the brigade moved to Goldsboro, where it re- 
mained until the 5th of March, when it was transported by 
rail to Wilmington, and from that place by steamer to Smith- 
field, at the mouth of the Cape Fear. The 24th Virginia regi- 
ment was sent to garrison Fort Caswell, the remaining regi- 
ments were in bivouac near the town of Smithfleld. Leaving 
the latter named place on Friday, March 25th, by steamer, the 
brigade reached Wilmington on the morning of the 2Cjt\\, to 
find the ground covered with snow, which increased in depth 
as the train carrying the men receded from the coast. The 
brigade debarked from the cars at Goldsboro, where it went 
into bivouac, and remained until Friday, April 1st, when it 
again set off, marching through snow and mud to Tarboro, 
which was reached on the 3rd; the distance marched being 
fifty miles in less than three days. On the 10th orders were 
issued to be ready to move, and on the morning of the 15th the 
command began its march down the Tar through Greenville, 
and across to the Roanoke, to the vicinity of Plymouth, which 
was reached on the evening of the 17th. The Confederate 

274 New River Settlements 

troops engaged in this enterprise were Ransom's and Hoke's 
North Carolina brigades and Kemper's Virginia brigade, all 
commanded by Brigadier General Robert F, Hoke. The Fed- 
eral troops holding the town of Plymouth, consisted of the 
10th Connecticut regiment, 2nd Massachusetts heavy artillery, 
2nd North Carolina, companies B and E, 12th New York cav- 
alry, companies A and F, 85th New York, 24th New York bat- 
tery, 101st Pennsylvania, and 103 Pennsylvania; aggregating 
2834 men, all under the command of Brigadier General Wes- 
ells. The fight opened on the evening of the 17th, and con- 
tinued until 10 o'clock A. M. on the 20th, when General Wes- 
ells surrendered himself and troops to the Confederates as 
prisoners of war. The Confederate Ram Albemarle came down 
the Roanoke on the 19th and joined in the attack, greatly aid- 
ing in the success of the battle. The Confederates lost about 
300 men. Colonel Mercer, of the 21st Georgia of Hoke's brigade, 
being among the slain. Company D of the 7th Virginia lost 
A. L. Fry, and John W. East, wounded. 

After only a few hours rest, General Hoke, on the evening 
of the same day on which Plymouth had fallen, turned the 
head of his column toward Washington on the Pamlico 
Sound, which point he reached that night, and immediately 
prepared to take it by assault; when on the next morning it 
was found that the enemy had evacuated the place and retired 
upon Newberne, whither General Hoke immediately marched, 
and made ready to assault that place; from which, however, 
he was recalled on the 6th day of May with hurry orders to go 
to the defense of Petersburg, now threatened, and about to be 
assailed by the Federal General Butler, who had landed at 
City Point on the James with a large army and was advanc- 
ing upon the city. General Hoke, at the head of his com- 
mand, left the front of Newberne on the 6th day of May, 1864, 
and by a rai)id march passed through Petersburg before noon 
of Thursday, the 12th, a distance of nearly 175 miles by the 
route traveled. Mr. D. H. Hill, Jr., in his Confederate Military 
History of North Carolina, on page 248, speaking of this 

1861-1865 275 

march of General Hoke from Newberne to Petersburg, says: 
"This march of General Hoke's troops stands at West Point 
as the most rapid movement of troops on record." These 
troops of Hoke moved across the Appomattox and out to Swift 
Creek, and formed in line of battle, and lay upon their arms the 
night of the 12th. On movang forward on the morning of the 
13th, it was found that the enemy had drawn his lines back 
towards Bermuda Hundreds, and the Confederates were al- 
lowed to pursue their way along the turnpike in the direction 
of Richmond; halting, however, within the defences of Drury's 

The armies of Lee and Grant were in a death grapple at 
Spottsylvania, and no help could come from Lee's army, 
proper, to meet General Butler's menace against Richmond 
and Petersburg. 

General Beauregard had hastened up from the South, with 
all troops from his military district that could be spared, so 
that by the 15th he had assembled an army in and around 
Petersburg and the defenses of Drury's Bluff, aggregating a 
little more tlian 13,000 men. Immediately organizing his 
troops into divisons, he prepared to attack the enemy, who 
had now drawn his lines closely up to and around the Drury's 
Bluff defenses. Beauregard's left division, under Major Gen- 
eral Robert Ransom, and which was to lead the attack, was 
composed of Grade's Alabama brigade, Hoke's North Caro- 
lina brigade, commanded by Colonel Lewis, Barton's Virginia 
brigade by Colonel Fry, and Kemper's Virginia brigade com- 
manded by Colonel Terry. At two o'clock A. M. on Monday, 
the 16th, the various commands moved to the respective places 
assigned them. Among the batteries of artillery assigned to 
and which fought with General Ransom's division, was that of 
Captain David A. French, commanded in the early morning 
of that day by Lieutenant Daniel W. Mason. Its losses were 
as follows, viz : Wounded, Hugh Hurley, William Kelly, 
Charles E. Pack, D. C. Robinson, and William Woodyard. It 
may be here noted that this battery under the command of 

270 New River Settlements 

Captain French, with Armistead's, and some infantry sup- 
ports, all under the command of Colonel Starke, on tlie 6th 
day of May, 18G4, had quite a spirited engagement with the 
enemy's gunboats on the James, driving them off without loss 
to tlie Confederates. 

Before daylight on the morning of the 10th of May, 1864, 
Ransom's division of four brigades, 19 regiments, opened the 
battle on the Confederate left, which was immediately taken 
up along the whole line, and raged with varying fortune for 
several hours, but resulted in the defeat of the enemy, and 
his withdrawal and retirement within his fortified lines at 
Bermuda Hundreds, with a loss of about 4500, that of the Con- 
federates being 2827. The loss in Kemper's brigade of four 
regiments, the 3rd Virginia being on detached duty in North 
Carolina, and did not reunite with the brigade until the 28th 
of June, was 57 killed, 264 wounded; the loss in the 1st Vir- 
ginia was 12 killed, 25 wounded; in the 7th regiment 2 killed, 
37 wounded; in the 11th regiment, 15 killed, 94 wounded; in 
the 24th regiment, 28 killed, 108 wounded; among the latter 
the gallant Lieutenant Colonel Richard L. Maury, seriously, 
and Major Joseph Hambrick, mortally, the former falling with- 
in a few steps of the enemy's line of works. Company D of the 
7th lost John W. East and John S. Dudley, wounded; and 
the Mercer company of the 24th regiment lost James Callo- 
way, F. M. Mullins, Joseph Stovall, and George Smiley killed, 
and Harvey G. White, and others whose names the author has 
been unable to secure, wounded. 

Kemper's brigade captured four flags, and 458 prisoners. 
Including Brigadier General Heckman, of New Jersey, who 
was captured by Sergeant Blakey of company F, 7th regiment, 
General Heckman surrendering his sword and pistols to Col- 
onel C. C. Flowerree, of the 7th regiment. An account of the 
charge of Kemper's brigade in this battle, the capture of the 
Federal General Heckman by Sergeant Blakey, and the flag 
of the 23rd Massachusetts regiment by the 7th Virginia regi- 
ment has been written and published by Mr. Tristram Griflith, 

1861-1865 277 

of a IMassachusetts regiment, and who was a participant in 
this battle. He writes as follows: "During the night of the 
15th General Beauregard moved Ransom's division from its 
position in reserve on the Turnpike, in rear of his center, to 
his left, crossed Kingsland Creek by the Old Stage Road and by 
daylight of the morning of the 16th had them in a double line 
of battle in an open field with their left well overlapping the 
right of the Union line. At early dawn in a dense fog that 
made it impossible to distinguish friend from foe. Ransom's 
division moved forward and by a right half wheel attempted 
to crush Butler's right, get possession of the road to his base 
of supplies, and destroy his army. The 23rd Alabama bat- 
talion and the 41st Alabama regiment deployed as a heavy 
line of skirmishers well to the left of the line of advance, and 
the 60th Alabama on the left of the first line swung around the 
right of the Union line, took the seven companies of the 9th 
New Jersey posted on the right of the Old Stage Road in front 
and flank, killing and wounding ten officers and 120 men, and 
drove them from their position to the rear. The 23rd Alabama 
battalion and the 41st Alabama regiment by this time massed 
into a strong line of battle, swung to the left, passed down the 
road nearly to the Gregory house, Heckraan's headquarters, 
and halted. The 60th Alabama passed over the few logs 
thrown up during the night by the 9th New Jersey, and when 
the right touched the Old Stage Road they, too, halted. The 
43rd and 59th Alabama on the right of the 60th struck the 
Federal line of battle in front of the 23rd and 27th Massachu- 
setts. Before reaching the edge of the woods tliey became 
demoralized, and General Gracie, who commanded them, sent 
word to the line in rear for assistance. Kemper's brigade ad- 
vanced to the help of General Gracie. The 24th and the 11th 
Virginia of Kemper's brigade passed over the 43rd and 59th 
Alabama, and went into the edge of the woods within a hun- 
dred feet of the Federal line, where they lost their organiza- 
tion, and lay down to escape the heavy fire. The 7th and the 
1st of Kemper's brigade, on the left of the 24th and 11th Vir- 

278 New River Settlements 

giniu, passed over about the same ground as did the 23rd 
Alabama battalion and 60th Alabama. The right flank of the 
1st Virginia struck the two companies of the 9tli New Jersey, 
who, unconscious that the seven companies of their regiment 
on the right of the road had been driven to the rear, and that 
their right flank was exposed, were bravely holding their posi- 
tion. Without obeying the order to surrender, and without 
■sending v/ord to the 23rd Massachusetts, across the little brook 
on their left they ran pell-mell down the road into the rear 
of the 41st Alabama, where in astonishment they surrendered. 
The 1st Virginia passing over the light log work built by the 
Jersey men, took a right half wheel through the woods and 
brush, crossed the little brook, when their right flank came 
unexpectedly among the men of Company G on the right flank 
of the 23rd Massachusetts. Captain Raymond, who had just 
taken command of the 23rd, Colonel Chambers having been 
sent to the rear, mortally wounded, was near the right of the 
line. The first intimation he had that our right had been 
turned, was w^hen he saw the Confederates among the men 
of his company, and heard them calling out, ''surrender!" He 
instantly gave the order, ''Change front to rear on left com- 
j)any," but, in the thick wood and fog and the confusion of 
battle the order was not understood. The men broke back as 
they saw those on their right go, leaving all but two of their 
right flank company in the hands of the enemy. The color 
guard and colors kept together and about 150 feet in the rear 
of the line came in contact with the left of the 1st Virginia, 
who gave them a volley, killing and wound several of the men. 
Corporal Charles D. Fernald, carrying the State colors, moved 
back toward the old line of battle, and joined a group of the 
men of the regiment centered around Lieutenant Wheeler, of 
Heckman's staff. Lieutenant Wheeler being just then mortally 
wounded and some one calling out ''Ralley on the 27th," Fernald 
and some others moved in that direction and joined the right 
of that regiment. Colonel Lee, of the 27th, had been informed 
that lh(;re was trouble on the right by several of the men and 

1861-1865 279 

officers of the 23rd who ran by him. Doubting the report, he 
passed to the right of his regiment to investigate, and about 
twenty feet beyond he found himself surrounded by the ad- 
vancing enemy, to whom he was obliged to surrender. 

"Let us now go back to the advance of Kemper's brigade to 
the assistance of General Gracie, and follow the course of the 
7th Virginia, as this regiment played an important part in the 
capture of General Heckman, and the State flag of the 23rd 
Massachusetts. When the 1st Virginia entered the woods, 
passed up the Old Stage Road over the position vacated by 
the two companies of the 9th New Jersey, and wheeled to the 
right toward the right flank of the 23rd Massachusetts, the 
7th Virginia advancing on their left, struck a bog that sepa- 
rated the two or three left flank companies from the rest of 
the regiment, and left them in the rear at the edge of the 
woods. When Colonel Flowerree was informed of the fact, 
he sent his Adjutant, John H. Parr, after them to return them 
to their places in line, while he continued to move forward 
with his regiment around the Federal right flank. In wheeling 
to the right and just after crosing the Old Stage Road, this 
regiment captured General Heckman. The General, taking 
this advancing regiment for reinforcements, was about to 
order it to change front, when seeing his mistake, he tried to 
pass himself off for a rebel officer. Sergeant Blakey, of Com- 
pany G of the 7th Virginia, could not be fooled, and tbe 
General declining to surrender to anyone but a line oflicer, 
was marched by Blakey to Colonel Flowerree, to whom General 
Heckman gave up his sword. 

"To go back to John H. Parr and the two or three com- 
panies of the 7th Virginia, which he found stuck in the bog 
at the edge of the woods; he moved them to the left around 
the bog and led the way through the woods in an effort to 
overtake his regiment. Mistaking his course, he took a much 
shorter wheel, which brought him, with his two or three com- 
panies, around the left flank of the 1st Virginia, and upon 

280 New River Settlements 

the right rear of the 27th Massachusetts, just after the 
23rd Massachusetts had broken to the rear, and at just 
the moment when the 11th Virginia, and detachments form- 
ing the 59th Alabama, who were lying down in the edge of 
the woods, and who noticing from the Federal line in 
their front that the firing had ceased, moved forward and 
joined the 1st Virginia, passing over the ground just vacated 
by the 23rd Massachusetts, upon the right flank of the 27th 
Massachusetts, It was these rebel regiments that Colonel Lee 
walked into when he stepped to the right of his regiment to 
see if the 23rd Massachusetts had fallen back. When Colonel 
Lee had surrendered, Adjutant John H. Parr, of the 7th Vir- 
ginia, who had led the two or three companies of his regiment 
around the Federal right flank, rushed forward and seized the 
staff of the State flag of the 23rd Massachusetts, carried by 
Corporal Charles G. Fernald." 

The morning succeeding the battle, Kemper's brigade, with 
other troops, pursued the enemy to Howlett's house on the 
James, where there was an unfinished Confederate earthwork. 
The 1st and 7th regiments were sent to hold these earthworks. 
The enemy's gunboats in the river opened on the works, and 
continued the shelling throughout the evening and night. Dur- 
ing the shelling Major Howard, of the 1st regiment, and 
Sergeant Thomas Fox, of the same regiment, were seriously 
wounded. On the next morning, the 18th, Lieutenant John 
W. Mullins, of company D of the 7th, in command of the skirm- 
ish line, received a wound from which he died on the 22nd 
day of the succeeding month. 

Withdrawing on the evening of the 18th, the brigade march- 
ed to the neighborhood of Manchester, bivouaced for the night, 
and next morning marched through Richmond to the station 
of the Fredericksburg and Potomac Railroad; placed aboard 
flat cars and moved to ^Vlilford station, debarked, moved 
across the Mattaponi and bivouaced. There were present of 
the brigade at Milford, on the morning of the 21st of May, 

1861-1865 281 

about 60 men of the 1st Virginia, seven companies of the 11th 
Virginia, numbering about 225, and the 7th Virginia, number- 
ing about 250, making an aggregate of 535, About ten o'clock 
A. M., there was a call to arms, and report of the approach of 
a body of Federal cavalry, supposed to be a mere raiding party, 
but, as subsequently developed, was the Federal cavalry divi- 
sion of General Torbett, leading the advance of General 
Grant's army from Spottsylvania Court House toward Rich- 
mond. After a spirited contest of more than an hour, in which 
the Federal cavalry charges were repeatedly repulsed, the 
troops under the command of Major George F. Norton, of the 
1st regiment, were withdrawn across the river, dismantling 
the bridge to such an extent as to prevent immediate and close 
pursuit by the enemy. The Confederate loss in this aifair was 
about 70, mostly captured, being unable to reach the bridge 
in advance of the enemy. The loss sustained was mostly in 
the 11th regiment; numbers of the men escaping by swim- 
ming the river. The brigade continued its movement until it 
joined General Lee's army, en route from Spottsylvania to 
the North Anna. On reaching Hanover Junction, the com- 
mand joined the remainder of the brigade, and the other bri- 
gades of Pickett's divison. Here too, was Breckenridge's divi- 
sion from the valley, fresh from the victorious field of New 

The division of Pickett, again united, marched with the 
army to Cold Harbor, taking position in the battle line on the 
left of Hoke's division, which on the 3rd of June, in co-opera- 
tion with Breckenridge's, bore the brunt of the Federal as- 
sault, in which General Grant lost about as many men in 
twenty minutes as Hoke and Breckenridge had in their com- 

In this battle of Cold Harbor, Pickett's men had but little or 
no part, beyond severe skirmishing, and receiving a heavy 
shelling from the enemy. As a matter of fact. General Lee had 
succeeded in repulsing the larger part of General Grant's 
army with only a small part of his own. It is stated that the 

282 New River Settlements 

Federal loss in the assault on June 3rd, was 12,737, while the 
Confederates lost less than 2,000 men. 

On the march from Milford station to Hanover junction, 
John A. Hale, of Company I>, 7th regiment, with a comrade 
from the regiment, broke completel}^ down, and found them- 
selves within the enemy's lines where they remained for two 
or three days. Hungry and starving, they ventured to a dwell- 
ing to obtain food ; finding there a Federal soldier on the same 
errand, they captured him and took him along with them, 
until they got within the Confederate lines. 

In this battle of Cold Harbor, there were in Breckenridge's 
division a number of New River Valley men, belonging to com- 
panies of the 23rd Virginia battalion, 26th Virginia battalion 
and 30th Virginia battalion. Very considerable losses in killed 
and wounded was suffered by these commands, but in the ab- 
sence of official data it cannot be given. Lieutenant James 
K. Peck, of the 23rd Virginia battalion, and a Giles County 
man, was killed ; and Colonel George Edgar, commanding the 
26th battalion, -was wounded by a bayonet thrust and captured. 
Captain James Dunlap, of Monroe, and Lieutenant W. W. 
George, of Mercer, were also captured. 

In a few days after the battle of Cold Harbor, General Breck- 
enridge, with his division, marched for the Valley of Virginia, 
to meet the army of General Hunter, now endeavoring to reach 
Lynchburg. On the 12th of June General Lee detached his 
2nd army corps under Lieutenant General Early, and pushed 
it to Lynchburg. The retreat of Hunter and the operations of 
Early's command and that of General Breckenridge, will be 
taken up in relating the campaigns of 1864 in Western Vir- 
ginia, Southwestern Virginia, in the Valley, and in Maryland. 

General Grant, convinced of his inability to enter Richmond 
on the line he was traveling, on the night of the 12th of June 
changed his course, moving direct for the James, followed by 
the Confederates marching on parallel lines. The line of 
march of Pickett's division, carried it over the old battle 
ground of Gaines' mill, crossing the Chickahominy over Mc- 

1861-1865 283 

Clellan's bridge near Seven Pines, and halting near the bat- 
tle field of Frazier's farm; on the 15th marched up Darby- 
town road a short distance and went into bivouac. Daybreak 
on the morning of the 16th found the division in line and on the 
march to the James at Cafiln's Bluff, where it crossed the 
river on a pontoon bridge; passing over the battle field of 
Drury's Bluff on to the Turnpike road; and had reached a 
jjoint near Walthall Junction, where the head of the column 
was unexpectedly fired into by the enemy, who had gained 
possession of the road. The division was quickly formed in 
battle line, and sending ahead a strong skirmish line, drove 
the enemy beyond the first line of earthworks, which had 
that morning been evacuated by the Confederate troops, who 
had been called to the defense of Petersburg. About four 
o'clock, P. M., the divison charged along the whole line, re- 
taking the whole outer line erected by General Beauregard's 
troops before their removal to Petersburg. This assault was 
not without loss, and brought from General Lee to Major Gen- 
eral Anderson, the corps commander, General Longstreet hav- 
ing been severely wounded in the battle of the Wilderness, the 
following letter: 

''General : — I take great pleasure in presenting to you my 
congratulation upon the conduct of the men of your corps. I 
believe that they will carry anything they are put against. 
We tried very hard to stop Pickett's men from capturing the 
breastworks of the enemy, but couldn't do it. I hope his loss 
has been small." 

The brigade loss was about twenty killed and wounded. In 
the 7th regiment. Sergeant William Parrott, of Company I, 
Corporal J. B. Young, of Company D, were severely, and Wil- 
liam Davis, of Company C, mortally wounded. 

From the 16th day of June, 1864, until the 5th day of March, 
1865, Pickett's division occupied the line from Howlett's house, 
on the James, to Swift Creek and Fort Clifton, on the Appo- 
mattox. The minor occurrences within this period, on, along, 

284 New Kiver Settlements 

within and immediately without, the lines of the division 
would fill a volume. 

The enemy's advance on the north side of the James, and 
his capture of Fort Harrison, on the morning of September 
29th, drew to that side of the river, among other Confederate 
troops, four regiments from Pickett's division, including the 
24th Virginia regiment, all under the command of Colonel 
Montague. An unsuccessful assault was led by General Hoke 
against Fort Harrison on the morning of the 30th of Septem- 
ber, in Avhich the 24th Virgiuia suffered severe loss. 

The battery of Captain David A. French was also engaged 
in this battle at Fort Harrison, and met with the following 
loss, viz : Killed, Adam Johnston ; wounded. Lieutenant W. 
H. Smith, Privates E. W. Charlton, John M. Walker, John 
Burton, Joshua Day, Henry Hicks, John Ingrahan, and Eras- 
tus W. Peck. This company was engaged in the battle of Fus- 
sells' Mills, on the north side of the James, on the 19th of 
August, 1864, and its casualties were as follows: Killed, 
Henry Stover; wounded, Sergeant John N. Woodram, mor- 
tally ; H. C. Clyburn, and William J. Sarver. The Federal loss 
in and around Fussells' Mill was 2901, out of the 2nd and 10th 
army corps. 

During the months of July, August ,vSeptember and October, 
the regiments and brigades of Pickett's division were frequent- 
ly shifted along the line it Avas holding, and which has been 
described. Frequent combats, in the shape of sharpshooting, 
took place, and occasionally the Confederate skirmishers, and 
twice in larger body, made sallies against the enemy's rifle 
pits, gathering in large numbers of jirisoners. On one of these 
expeditions they swept the Federal picket line for several 
hundred yards, bringing away without loss more tlian one 
hundred prisoners, including the Federal officers in command 
of the line. For the most part of the period between June, 
1864, and March 5th, 1865, the pickets of the combatants on 
this line were on friendly terms; so much so, that the Confed- 

1861-1865 285 

erate officers had to require the picket firing to be resumed in 
order to break up these friendly relations, which had been 
carried to the extent of regular traffic between the pickets in 
the way of barter and exchange of newspapers, tobacco, cofifee 
and other articles. In many places along the line the pickets 
were near enough to each other that they could carry on con- 
versation in any ordinary tone of voice. 

The cold winter winds began to be felt in the close of the 
November days, and the men, in addition to their bomb proofs 
and mud houses in the earth, began to improve them as far as 
possible, in view of the approaching cold weather, by building 
flues or chimneys, and closing up all openings. The men were 
not only thinly clad, but some, at least, had but little clothing 
of any kind, and a large number were without shoes; and 
when the first blasts of winter came numbers could be seen 
shivering over the small fires they were allowed to kindle. 
Famine stared them in the face; the ration being from one- 
eighth to one-fourth of a pound of becan and one pint of 
unseived corn meal per day, and occasionally a few beans or 
peas. With empty stomachs, naked bodies, and frozen fingers, 
these men clutched their guns with an aim so steady and dead- 
ly that the men on the other side were exceedingly cautious 
how they lifted their heads from behind their sheltered places. 

This was not altogether the worst part of the situation, for 
many a good brave Confederate soldier heard in his rear the 
cries of distrees of a mother, wife, or children at home, whose 
needs were as great for bread as his. What could he do? 
What should he do? This, with his own pitiable condition, 
was enough to break the strongest heart. It was too much 
for some, who broke away to look after the suffering ones at 
home. "How could the Government do any better?" was often 
said. Whatever food it had for the army was mostly in the 
far-off South, and could not be brought forward, either for 
lack of transportation or by reason of the enemy having cut 
or destroyed the lines of communication. 

The private soldier received $11.00 per month for his services 

28G New River Settlements 

— about enough to buy his tobacco. Confederate money had be- 
come worthless, and the price of x>rovisions — that is, where 
any could be found for sale — was bevond the reach of the 
poor soldier. Flour was selling for |1500.00 per barrel ; bacon 
§20.00 per pound, beef |1.5.00 a pound, butter at $20.00 a 
l)0und; one chicken could be had for |50.00, soda |12.00 per 
pound, common calico |12.()0 per yard; and at the date, Jan- 
uary and February, 1865, it took flOO.OO in the currency to 
buy one dollar in gold. But this currency was all we had, good, 
bad or indifferent — it was use that or nothing — and the soldier 
had but little of it, and did not have this little long. Some one 
wrote on the back of $500.00 Confederate note, about, or just 
after the surrender at Appomattox, the following lines : 

"Representing nothing on God's earth now, 

And naught in water below it, 
As a pledge of a nation that's dead and gone, 

Keep it, dear captain, and show it. 
Show it to those that will lend an ear 

To the tale this paper can tell 
Of liberty born, of the patriot's dream, 

Of a storm-cradled nation that fell. 

Too poor to possess the precious ore. 

And too much a stranger to borrow. 
We issue today our "promise to pay," 

And hope to redeem on the morrow. 
Days roll by, and weeks became years. 

But our coffers were empty still; 
Coin was so rare that the treasury quaked 

If a dollar should drop in the till. 

But the faith that was in us was strong indeed, 

And our poverty well we discerned. 
And these little checks represented the pay 

That our suffering Veterans earned. 
We knew it had hardly a value in gold. 

Yet as gold the soldiers received it; 
It gazed in our eyes with a promise to pay. 

And each patriot soldier believed it. 

But our boys thought little of price or pay. 

Or of bills that were over-due; 
We knew if it brought our bread today 

'Twas the best our country could do. 
Keep it! It tells all our history over, 

From the birth of the dream to its last; 
Modest, and born of the Angel Hope, 

Like our hope of success, it passed." 

1861-1865 287 

Notwithstanding all these things, these heroic men, who 
loved their cause better than life, stood to their posts, and 
defied the enemy to the last. The enemy, by general orders 
and circular letters which they managed to send and scatter 
among the Confederate soldiers, offered all manner of induce- 
ments to have them desert their country; but, as a rule, such 
offers were indignantly spurned. The consecration of the 
Southern women to the cause for which their husbands, sons, 
brothers, and sweethearts struggled and suffered, is beyond 
the power of pen to describe. The hardships of these women 
were equal to, and often greater than that of the shivering, 
freezing, starving soldier in the field. They had not only given 
these men to the cause, but, in fact, themselves, too; for they 
remained at home and labored in the fields, went to mill, the 
blacksmith shops, lived on corn bread and sorghum molasses, 
and gave practicaly every pound of meat, flour and all the 
vegetables they could raise to the men in the army, whom they 
encouraged to duty in every possible way. They manufactured 
largely their own clothing, out of material that they had pro- 
duced with their own hands; and would have scorned any 
woman who would wear northern manufactured goods; and 
the thought, sentiment, and action is well expressed in linea 
written during the war: 

"Now northern goods are out of date, 

And since old Abe's blockade, 
We Southern girls can be content, 

With goods that's Southern made; 
We send our sweethearts to the war. 

But girls neier you mind — 
Your soldier lover will not forget 

The girl lie left behind. 

"And now young man, a word to you: 

If you would win the fair. 
Go to the field where honor calls 

And win your lady there; 
Remember that our brightest smiles 

Are for the true and brave. 
And that our tears are all for those 

Who fill the soldier's grave." 

Through this long, cold, dreary winter, Pickett's division — 
less than five thousand strong — held the line which, in length. 

288 New River Settlements 

was not less than four miles; being not many beyond one 
thousand men to the mile; only a good skirmish line; over 
which the enemy, by a bold, determined charge, could at any 
time have gone. It is certain that if the Federal line in front 
of IMckett's men had been as weak, and held by as few men as 
that of Pickett, they would have either been prisoners before 
the 1st day of January, 1865, or have been driven into the 
James and drowned. 

Every effort was being put forth by the Confederate authori- 
ties to bring every available man to the field ; the men from 
the division on detail or detached service were required to 
report to their respective regiments, and their places to be 
filled with those unable for active field service. This order 
gave great concern to many who had been out in good and 
easy places. Sergeant Charles T. Loehr in his "History of 
the 1st Virginia Regiment," tells of a Mr. Stegar, of Company 
D of that regiment, who did not relish his return to his com- 
pany, and who wrote : 


"With all my heart I hate to part. 

For I'm not happy to be free, 
And it will surely break my heart 

To send me back to company D. 

We had a snug detail together, 

But Uncle Bob has clipped our wings. 
And spring will be but gloomy weather 

If doomed to fight Old Grant in spring. 

Farewell, and when some sickly fellow 

Shall claim this bomb-proof I resign, 
And three miles in the rear discover 

What ease and safety once were mine." 

The new year was approaching; it was to bring nothing to 
cheer our aching hearts, but much to depress them. No hope 
for peace, nor settlement, or relief from our unfortunate stiua- 
tion. The men who were christians prayed earnestly every 
day for the return of peace to our distracted country; and in 
the dead hour of the night, often could be seen men on their 
knees, engaged in earnest appeals to God for our country and 

1861-1865 289 

for peace. Finally in the latter part of January, 1865, there 
was a rift in the dark cloud which overhung our sky, when it 
was announced that Confederate Commissioners were on their 
way to meet the Federal President, to attempt to adjust the 
unhappy differences. This was known throughout the army, 
and the men gathered in groups with faces all aglow with in- 
tense interest, to discuss the grave question. The one unani- 
mous voice was, settle it, if possible on any terms that are 
fair and honorable. The return of these Commissioners with 
the report that no settlement could be made other than down- 
right submission, cast a deep and heavy gloom over the faces 
of the men, who, but a few days before, had been happy in the 
hope of a peaceful and honorable termination of hostilities. 
Gloom and despair were plainly depicted on the faces of some 
of the men, while grim determination was to be seen on the 
faces of others. The situation is probably better expressed by 
telling first of an incident that happened with one of the men 
of the 7th Virginia regiment, and then the action taken by a 
large part of the soldiers in the way of meetings and resolu- 
tions. This man of the 7th regiment seemed very much de- 
jected and downcast, when he heard of the failure of the Com- 
misioners to make an adjustment of our troubles, and one of 
his comrades inquiring of him as to what was his trouble, he 
replied: ''Well, the Peace Conference is a failure, Lincoln has 
called for more men, and President Davis says, 'war to the 
knife'; what shall we do?" 

The Federal soldier was as anxious for peace as the Con- 
federate could possibly be. About the time of the return of 
the Peace Commissioners it is told of a Federal soldier, that, 
in the presence of one of his officers, he remarked that he was 
anxious for the war to close and for the return of peace, and 
that he knew of a plan by which Richmond could be captured, 
and that would end the war and bring peace. His ofiQcer in- 
sisted upon his telling what the plan was that he had for the 
capture of Richmond; that General Grant ought to know of 
the plan if feasible. The soldier said he felt not only some 

290 New River Settlements 

hesitancy, but a delicacy in stating it, but if the officer insisted 
he would tell him. Finally, the officer prevailed on the soldier 
to divulge his plan, which was this: "Swap Generals; bring 
General Lee over here and put him in command of this army, 
and he will have Richmond in twenty-four hours." 

As already stated, on the return of the Peace Commissioners 
with their report of the failure to settle matters, meetings of 
the soldiers were held in many of the companies and regiments 
throughout the army, to discuss the situation, in which reso- 
lutions were adopted expressive of their views. Among the 
companies which held such meetings was that of Captain 
David A. French, the minutes of which meeting are as follows : 

"Darby Town Road, February 6, 1865. 

At a meeting convened in the Stonewall Detachment, Cor- 
poral Charles E. Pack was called to the chair, O. F. Jordan 
appointed secretary, and the following preamble and resolu- 
tions were adopted : 

Whereas, we believe that the Confederate authorities have 
taken appropriate measures to bring about an honorable peace 
to the Confederacy ; 

And whereas, said measures have failed to bring about this 
most desirable result, owing to obstinacy and tyrannical dis- 
position of the Federal authorities; in this, that they refuse 
all offers of peace, and will listen to nothing save an humble 
submission on the part of the Confederates : 

We, the members of the Stonewall Detachment, Captain D. 
A. French's battery, do resolve: that we will listen to no 
terms the least degrading to brave men and free men. That 
come weal or woe, we will now fight it out at the cost of every 
drop of blood that flows in our veins ; that there is no sacrifice 
too dear, no danger too hazardous, no suffering too great, that 
we will not endure for our country and cause; and we pledge 
ourselves anew to stand by our flag and guns while the one 
waves, and there is room to work the other." 

C. E. Pack^ Chairman. 
O. F. JoRDAN_, Secretary. 

1861-1865 291 

During the fall of 18G4, and the early part of the winter of 
that year, the country had reached such a condition that starv- 
ation was not only staring the army in the face, threatening 
its disintegration and disbanding, but the people at home, in 
many localities, were suffering for the very necessaries of 
life,and good people among them, some of even the leading 
men, had reached the conclusion that the contest could not 
longer be maintained; they, therefore, were for peace on any 
terms, and if the Confederate authorities were not willing to 
take immediate steps to that end, that the people would be 
placed in position to discourage the continuance of the contest 
by every means within their power. 

The Federal authorities, including the commanding officers 
of their armies, as well as their spies, emmissaries, and scouts, 
encouraged the peace feeling by holding out all manner of 
inducements to the people, and to the soldiers in the army; 
and by secret orders and organizations among our people and 
soldiers, sought to influence the people to withdraw their sup- 
port from the armies, and to encourage the soldiers to abandon 
the cause for which we had fought for nearly four years. Or- 
ganizations were found to exist in Southwestern and Western 
Virginia, known by the names of: "Heroes of America," "Red 
String," and "White String Party," which had regular signs 
and pass-words. Into these were drawn, as reported, some of 
the prominent and leading citizens, and had even partly per- 
meated the army, particularly the 22nd and 54th Virginia 
regiments of infantry. How far they affected these organiza- 
tions, and how far tlieir influence reached, it is difficult to say ; 
but it alarmed the Confederate authorities and was made the 
subject of investigation by the Secretary of War, Mr. Seddon. 
For a full history of this matter with the names disclosed of 
persons connected therewith, the reader is referred to Rebel- 
lion Records, Series IV, Vol. 3, pp. 804-16. 

Returning to affairs in Western and Southwestern Virginia, 
and resuming the narrative of events at the close of 1863, we 

292 New River Settlements 

find that in December of that year, the 16th Virginia cavalry, 
commanded by Colonel Milton J. Ferguson, spent the latter 
part of December, and a part of the following two months, in 
the Valley of the Sandy, penetrating to the Kanawha River, 
where a detachment of that regiment, in February of 1864, 
captured a steam boat on which was Brigadier General Scam- 
mon, of the Federal army, who was also captured, brought out 
and sent to Richmond in charge of Lieutenant E. G. Vertigan, 
his captor. 

On January 3rd, 1863, Brigadier General William E. Jones 
with his cavalry command, in which, at the time, was the 8th 
Virginia regiment, partly made up of Tazewell and Mercer 
County men, attacked a Federal force at Jonesville, Virginia, 
which he defeated, capturing 385 prisoners, killing 10, wound- 
ing 45, taking three pieces of artillery and a number of wagons. 
The 8th Virginia lost Lieutenant A. H. Samuels and four men 
killed and 7 wounded. 

Echols' brigade, with part of Jenkins' cavalry, spent the 
winter in Monroe and Greenbrier Counties. McCausland's bri- 
gade, with the 17th cavalry, wintered at the Narrows and at 
Princeton; while Wharton's brigade was in East Tennessee 
and about Saltville. 

The enemy in the Kanawha Valley, early in the spring, be- 
gan to assemble a force of infantry, cavalry, and artillery, 
under Brigadier General George Crook, for the purpose of an 
advance towards the Virginia and Tennessee Railroad; and at 
the same time a large force of the enemy was preparing to 
march up the Valley of Virginia to Staunton. 

Major General Breckenridge, on the 5th of March, 1864, 
had relieved General Jones, in command of the department of 
Southwestern Virginia. In the latter part of April and the 
first days of May, these Federal divisions from the Kanawha, 
and in the Valley of Virginia, commenced their advance. Gen- 
eral Breckenridge was called to the Virginia Valley, drawing 
to him the brigade of Echols and Wharton. McCausland's 
brigade had also been ordered to the Valley, but the advance 

1861-1865 293 

of General Crook's column held him at Dublin, with Jenkins' 
cavalry brigade at Narrows, with Bryan's battery, Ringgold, 
and Botetourt artillery, under the command of Brigadier 
General Jenkins. 

The Federal cavalry leader in Western A^irginia, Brigadier 
General Averill, with 2479 officers and men, left the Kanawha 
River above Charleston on the 1st of May, by way of Logan 
and Wyoming Court Houses, to Abb's Valley in Tazewell 
County, and from thence on the road to Wytheville, near 
which, on the 10th of May, he encountered a Confederate force 
under General William E .Jones, and was defeated. In this 
battle was the 16th Virginia cavalry regiment in part com- 
posed of Tazewell County men. The loss of General Averill 
was 100 in killed and wounded, himself among the wounded. 
He drew off his troops and passed down Walker's Creek by 
Shannon's and to Pepper's ferry, where he crossed New River, 
and from thence proceeded to Blacksburg and Christiansburg; 
turning northward in an effort to follow General Crook, he 
encountered at Gap Mountain, near Newport in Giles Count}', 
Jenkins' cavalry brigade, and part of the troops of Colonel 
William L. Jackson, all under the command of Colonel Wil- 
liam H. French, of Mercer, by whom he was driven back, and 
forced to retreat by a bridle path over the mountains into 
Monroe County, where he joined General Crook, who was 
closely followed by Jackson's command; Colonel French's 
troops returning to the Narrows. 

General Crook left the Kanawha River on the second day 
of May, with eleven regiments of infantry, a part of two regi- 
ments of cavalry, and two battalions of artillery, aggregating 
6,155 men. The march was made by way of Fayetteville, 
Raleigh Court House, Princeton, Rocky Gap, and Shannon's, 
to Cloyd's farm on Back Creek in Pulaski County; where on 
the 9th of May he found the command of General Jenkins, 
consisting of the 36th, 45th and 60th Virginia regiments and 
45th battalion of Virginia infantry, with Bryan's, Ringgold's 
and Douthat's Virginia batteries, drawn up in line of battle 

294 New River Settlements 

to meet him ; with an aggregate force, then, and that of Major 
Smitli, who joined after the retreat began, of less than 3,000 
men. The battle was a fierce and bloody one, and lasted for 
several hours, and the men who fought this battle on the 
Confederate side were largely from the middle New River 
Valley and from the upper Clinch waters; they were from 
Tazewell, Wythe, Pulaski ,Bland, Montgomery, Giles, Monroe, 
Greenbrier, Fayette, Raleigh, Mercer, Boone, Logan, Putnam, 
€abell, Wayne, and perhaps some from other Southern West 
Virginia Counties. General Jenkins was mortally wounded 
and his command outflanked and driven from the field, with a 
loss of 76 killed, 262 wounded, and 200 missing. The loss was 
inconsiderable in comparison with the value of the slain, 
among whom were some of the bravest and most daring sold- 
iers in the army. Lieutenant Colonel Edwin H. Harman, a 
brave young ofiicer of great promise, and Captain Robert R. 
Crockett, of the 45th regiment were killed. Lieutenant Colonel 
George W. Hammond, Major Jacob N. Taylor, and Captain 
Moses jNlcClintic, of the 60th Virginia, were killed, and Cap- 
tain Rufus A. Hale, S. S. Dews, Lieutenants Larue, Austin, 
Bailey, and Stevenson, together with a number of others of the 
60th and 36th Virginia were wounded, as was Major Thomas 
L. Broun, Post Quartermaster at Dublin, dangerously. (1) In 
this battle, in the 60th Virginia regiment, were two companies 
of Giles County men, one of which was commanded by that 
brave, fearless Irishman, Captain Andrew Gott, now of Mer- 
cer County. The men of Tazewell County in the 45th regiment 
suffered heavy loss in this battle, losing not only the gallant 
Lieutenant Colonel Harman, but numbers of others killed or 
wounded, among the latter the brave Captain C. A. Fudge. 
Bland County was also represented on this field as above 
stated ; and her sons distinguished themselves in this tignt. 

(1). Rev. Mr. Hickman, a Presbyterian minister, was killed on thi3 
field. Judse E. Ward and Hon. William Prince accompanied the Con- 
federate soldiers to this field and were under the enemy's fire. Prince, 
while acting as special messenger and courier, had his horse shot un- 
der him. 

1861-1865 295 

losing many of their best and bravest killed and wounded, 
among the latter that tall and heroic youth ,the flag bearer of 
the 45th, Andrew Jackson Stowers. There also fell on this field, 
near which was once the home of their ancestor, three remote 
cousins, viz: Lieutenant A. W. Hoge and his Brother M. J. 
Hoge of the Ringgold Virginia battery, and George D. Pearis 
of Bryan's Virginia battery. 

The Federal loss in this battle, in killed and wounded, was 
688. The Confederates under the command of Colonel John 
McCausland, who succeeded to the command on the wounding 
of General Jenkins, retreated by way of the railroad bridge to 
the East bank of New River, and upon the crossing of the Fed- 
erals at Pepper's ferry, and their advance to Christiansburg, 
he continued his retreat to the head waters of the Roanoke. 
General Crook took fright, and fled across Salt Pond mountain 
into Monroe County. 

No braver or better fight was ever put up in an open field 
by a body of men so largely outnumbered. (1) The coolness 
and braverv of Colonel McCausland, and the skillful manner 
in which he conducted the retreat, with the timely arrival of 
Major Smith's troops on the field, saved the command from 
capture or destruction. Colonel McCausland was at once, and 
deservedly so, made a Brigadier General, and placed in com- 
mand of Jenkins' cavalry brigade. 

General Breckenridge hurried down the Valley of Virginia, 
with the brigades of Echols and Wharton (2) and other 
troops, to New Market, where, on the 15th day of May, he met 
a Federal army some 6,500 strong, under General Sigel, and 
with less than 5,000 men defeated it with a loss of 831 ; the 
Confederate loss being 522. Sigel retreated, and Breckenridge, 
with his division, moved to Hanover Junction and joined Gen- 
eral Lee, leaving General Imboden in command in the Valley, 
who was shortly thereafter superseded by Brigadier General 

(1). The Federal General Crook says, in his report, says: "The 
enemy remained behind their works until battered away by our men." 

(2). Mostly New River Valley men. 

296 New River Settlements 

William E. Jones, who took with him from Southwest Vir- 
ginia, McCausland's old brigade of infantry, by which his 
forces were augmented to about 5,000, including, however, 
some local bodies of militia, with which to meet about 8,500 
Federal troops under the command of Major General David 
Hunter, who had displaced General Sigel. 

At Piedmont in the Valley, on the 5th day of June, Hunter's 
forces atacked the Confederates, and after a severe and bloody 
battle of more than five hours the Confederates were badly de- 
feated with heavy loss, and compelled to retreat in much dis- 
order, closely followed by the large body of the enemy's cavalry. 
General Jones was killed on the field, and the loss in his com- 
mand in killed and wounded was about 500, besides 1,000 
men and several guns captured. (1) In this battle the men 
from the New Kiver Valley were engaged and suffered fear- 
fully. While the Confederates were engaged in this contest, 
Generals Crook and Averill, with 8,000 to 10,000 men, were 
rapidly aproaching Staunton from Buffalo Gap on the West, 
opposed by General McCausland with his brigade and that 
of Colonel William L. Jackson, who on the occupation of 
Staunton by Hunter's forces, were compelled to retire. Gen- 
eral Imboden assumed command of the Confederates after 
the fall of General Jones, and retired to Waynesboro. In this 
unfortunate engagement the men from Tazewell, Bland, Giles 
and Mercer Counties were heavily engaged, and it is to be 
regretted that the names of those who fell, killed or wounded, 
have not been preserved. Here fell the brave and manly Col- 
onel William Henry Brown, of Tazewell, at the head of the 
45th Virginia regiment. The cause claimed no nobler sacrifice 
than this. He was born in Tazewell County, and had distin- 
guished himself in the many battles in which his regiment 
had been engaged. The loss of the enemy in this battle was 
J500 in killed and wounded. In the Giles companies in the 
3f)th Virginia regiment, there were, among others, killed in 
the battle of Piedmont, W. 8. Echols, B. Newton Snidow, 

(1). The Federal loaa was about 500. 

1861-1865 297 

Hamilton Hare, G. B. Chandler; wounded, J. C. Stump, John 
Kerr, John H. Williams; James W. Hale lost an arm. Lieu- 
tenant Thomas G. Jarrell, of a Boone County company, a 
Mercer County man originally, the son of Mr. George Wash- 
ington Jarrell, was slain in this battle. 

The defeat of General Jones' command left the Valley to 
Staunton, in fact through to and South of the James River, 
open to the march of General Hunter's army, now numbering 
near 20,000 effective men. Hunter did not delay, but pushed 
on toward Lynchburg, with nothing to oppose save McCaus- 
land's cavalry command, which fought him closely and man- 
fully all along the route, and so delayed him that it took him 
more than a week to march over a good road from Staunton 
to the front of Lynchburg. It is true that he. Hunter, stopped 
along the route at Lexington and other points to repeat his 
acts of vandalism; having in the lower Valley caused the 
properties of some of his relatives to be burned and destroyed; 
and after the close of the war it is said, he attempted to con- 
ciliate them, but they treated him with scorn and contempt 
as he deserved, for when his relatives, the females, plead with 
him to spare their homes he turned a deaf ear: 

"As well might you plead with the tiger to pause 

When his victim lies writhing and clenched in his claws." 

It was these acts of General Hunter, contrary as they were 
to usages of civilized warfare, that caused the burning of 
Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, in July of that year. 

In November, 1863, a straggling camp follower, or maraud- 
ing Federal soldier entered the home of Mr, David Creigh 
near Lewisburg, West Virginia, and attempted by force to 
enter the room of his daughter, when Mr, Creigh interposed 
and attempted to eject him; he sought the life of Mr, Creigh, 
who believing himself in great danger killed the man. General 
Averill in the spring of 1864, on his retreat with Crook from 
Cloyd's farm, had Mr, Creigh arrested and tried by a drum- 
kead court martial, which sentenced Mr. Creigh to be hanged, 

298 New River Settlements 

which sentence was approved by General Hunter. See Aver- 
ill's Report, Vol. 37, Part 1, Rebellion Records, p. 145. The 
wife of General W. H. Smith has beautifully and fully told 
this story of the martyr Creigh in verse, which is as follows : 

"He lived the life of an upright man, 

And the people loved him well; 
Many a wayfarer came to his door, 

His sorrow or need to tell. 
A pitying heart and an open hand. 

Gave succor ready and free; 
For kind and true to his fellowman 

And a Christian was David Creigh. 

But o'er his threshold a shadow passed. 

With a step of a ruffian foe; 
While in silent words and brutal threats 

A purpose of darkness show; 
And a daughter's wild imploring cry 

Called the father to her side — 
His hand was nerved by the burning wrong, 

And there the offender died. 

The glory of Autumn had gone from earth, 

The winter had passed away. 
And the glad springtime was merging fast 

Into summer's ardent ray, 
When a good man from his home was torn — 

Days of toilsome travel to see — 
And far from his loved a crown was worn, 

And the martyr was David Creigh. 

Here where he lived, let the end be told, 

Of a tale of bitter wrong; 
Here let our famishing thousands learn. 

To whom vengeance doth belong. 
Short grace was given the dying man. 

E'er led to the fatal tree, 
And short the grace to our starving hosts. 

Since the murder of David Creigh. 

The beast of the desert shields Its young. 

With an instinct fierce and wild. 
And lives there a man with the heart of a man 

Who would not defend his child? 
So woe to those who call evil good — 

That wee shall not come to me — 
War hath no record of fouler deed 

Than the murder of David Creigh. 

As has already been noted, General Breckenridge with his 
division had, on the 10th of June, left Richmond to meet Hunt- 
er's forces and prevent their passage through the gaps of the 
Blue Ridge towards Charlottesville and Richmond. General 

1861-1865 299 

Breckeuridge, finding Hunter's advance directed toward 
Lynchburg, instead of Eastward of the ridge, therefore pushed 
his division to the defense of that city, reaching there in ad- 
vance of Hunter's army, and holding the Federals at bay by 
severe fighting until the arrival of General Early with a por- 
tion of the 2nd corps of the army of Northern Virginia, on 
the 18th. Hunter ascertaining that Early had arrived, took 
fright and on the night of the 18th beat a hasty retreat by way 
of Liberty and Salem, and across the mountains into Western 
Virginia. At Hanging Rock, a Gap in the North Mountain, 
on the Salem and Sweet Springs turnpike, a portion of Early's 
cavalry struck the flank of Hunter's retreating army, capturing 
a portion of his train. In this encounter George Kahle, a 
brave young soldier from Mercer County, in a hand to hand 
conflict with a Federal soldier, was killed, and the latter slain 
on the spot by James O. Cassady, who was also a Mercer man. 
Hunter's army now sent in disastrous retreat across the moun- 
tains to the Kanawha, and the Valley free from the enemy. 
General Early directed the head of his column on the 23rd day 
of June towards Staunton, which he reached on the 26th. 
With Early was his own corps, to which was added Brecken- 
ridge's division, in which were the New River Valley men, not 
only in the infantry, but as well in the cavalry and artillery. 
Crook's retreat from the New River section had left the Con- 
federate lines along the Western and Southwestern Virginia 
border free from any considerable body of the enemy, and 
events in the East and in the Valley required the presence of 
nearly all the forces that had theretofore operated in Vir- 
ginia Westward of the Alleghanies. 

Resuming his march on the 28th General Early, with his 
troops, reached and passed through Winchester on July 3rd. 
General McCausland, with his brigade of cavalry, attacked 
on July 4tli, North Mountain depot on the Baltimore & Ohio 
Railroad, capturing 200 prisoners. A portion of Early's in- 
fantry under General Gordon, having crossed the Potomac on 
the 5th, McCausland's cavalry brigade advanced to Shepherds- 

300 New River Settlements 

town, and on the Gth to the Antietam, in front of Sharpsburg, 
and on the 9th advanced to Frederick City, where he had a 
skirmish with the enemy. General Early's troops being fully 
up on the 9th, he attacked and defeated, after a fierce and 
bloody battle, a Federal army of 10,000 men at the Monocacy 
under General Lew Wallace. In this bloody engagement Gen- 
eral McCausland's cavalry brigade performed prodigies of 
valor and suffered severe loss. The Confederate loss was about 
700 ; that of the Federals reported at 19()8. In the 17th Vir- 
ginia cavalry were three companies from Mercer County, com- 
manded by Captains Graybeal, Gore, and Straley, respectively. 
This regiment, as already heretofore stated, belonged to Mc- 
Causland's brigade and was in the thickest of the fight at the 
Monocacy and suffered severe loss, Lieutenant Colonel Tave- 
ner of the 17th Virginia being mortally wounded. 

Mr. Floyd A. Bolen has furnished to the author an itinerary 
of Company A of the 17th regiment, as well as of that regiment 
from the earliest organization of said company and regiment, 
down to the close of the battle at Monocacy, where Mr. Bolen 
was wounded so severely as to disable him from further ser- 
vice in the army. This itinerary is as follows : "Field officers 
of the regiment, William H. French, Colonel; W. C. Tavener, 
Lieutenant Colonel; Fred Smith, Major; H. B. Barbor, Adju- 
tant; with Doctor Isaiah Bee for a while as regimental Sur- 
geon, but afterwards i)romoted to brigade Surgeon. Three 
companies from Mercer County belonged to this regiment: 
Company A, which was the first company of cavalry organized 
in Mercer County, had as its first officer William H. French, 
Captain; Philip Thompson, Robert Gore and William B. 
Crump, Lieutenants. At the reorganization of the company 
J. W. Graybeal was elected Captain and LaFayette Gore and 
Albert Austin Lieutenants. When Captain William H. French 
iras promoted to the rank of Colonel, Captain J. W. Graybeal 
became Captain of company A and Judson Ellison and W. A. 
Reed became Lieutenants, together with Edward McClaugh- 

1861-1865 301 

erty, in the place of Ellison resigned. The oiScers of company 
D were Robert Gore, Captain ; Erastus Meador, Albert White, 
and William R. Carr, Lieutenants. The officers of Company 
E were Jacob C. Straley, Captain ; William L. Bridges, Kinzie 
Rowland, and Ambrose Oney, Lieutenants. Company A was 
organized and entered the Confederate service about the Ist 
of June, 1861, and remained in the Counties of Mercer and 
Giles until about the 1st of the following October, when it 
marched with other troops to Guyandotte. This march was 
conducted through the Counties of Raleigh, Wyoming, Logan 
and Cabell. On the return of the company from this expedi- 
tion it went into camp on Flat Top mountain on the Miller 
farm, where it remained two or three weeks, then marched by 
way of Princeton and Jeffersonville into Russell County, go- 
ing into camp near Lebanon, where it remained two or three 
weeks, and then moved over to the Holstein and went into 
camp. Here it remained about one month, and then moved 
Southwestward through Abingdon, Bristol and into Tennessee 
as far as Union Station, and then returned to Mercer County, 
going into camp at Princeton, where it spent the winter. 
Early in the spring of 1862, the company, in connection with 
other troops, met the enemy at Clark's house, on the Flat Top, 
in which a severe skirmish ensued, resulting in the repulse of 
the Confederates, and in a loss to said company of Cornelius 
Brown and G. H. Bryson, killed, and several wounded. The 
retreat continued by way of Princeton to Bland Court House, 
where the company remained for a few days and then was sent 
back to Rocky Gap, and a few days thereafter to the Cross 
Roads in Mercer County. A few days after reaching Cross 
Roads this company led the advance of Wharton's command 
against the enemy at Princeton, and on the 17th of May was 
engaged in the battle of Pigeon Roost Hill, with Wharton's 
command. These three Mercer companies accompanied Gen- 
eral Loring on his march to the Kanawha Valley, in Septem- 
ber, 1862. On reaching Charleston this company, with Gore's 
Company D and the Bland rangers, were thrown together, 

302 New Kiver Settlements 

forming a hattaliou, and placed under the command of Major 
Saliers. This battalion was then detached from Loring's 
troops and sent through Jackson County, driving the enemy 
across the Ohio. Returning from tliis expedition this battalion 
marched through the Kanawha Valley to Blue Sulphur 
Springs in Greenbrier, where the 17th regiment was finally 
gotten together with the field officers hereinbefore stated. 
Shortly after its organization the regiment marched to Salem, 
where it spent the winter of 1862-3. About the 1st of May, 
1863, the regiment broke camp and boarded the cars for Lynch- 
burg, and from thence to Stauntou, where it went into camp 
and remained waiting for its horses to be brought forward. 
As soon as mounted the regiment marched down the Valley to 
Berryville, Virginia, where it joined and became a part of the 
cavalry brigade of Jenkins, which led the advance of Gen- 
eral Lee's army into Pennsylvania. On this march into 
Pennsjlvania, at a point northeast of Gettysburg, this 
brigade of Jenkins encountered a regiment of the enemy, 
capturing 200 or more prisoners and a train of wagons. 
On the first day at Gettysburg, after the Federal line had 
been broken. Captain Robert Gore, of Company D, distin- 
guished himself by dashing in front of the Federal lines 
alone, and capturing 150 of the retreating enemy. After the 
first day's fight was over the 17th regiment took charge of and 
guarded the 5,000 prisoners captured on that day. On the 
retreat from Pennsylvania this brigade of Jenkins had quite a 
lively fight with the enemy near Boonesboro, in which Joseph 
H. McClaugherty of Company A, was wounded. Jenkins' 
brigade of cavalry covered the retreat of General Lee's army 
southward after it crossed the Potomac on its way from 
Gettysburg, and in the Valley had several skirmishes with 
the enemy, without any serious loss. Near Sperryville, in Rap- 
pahannock County, a part of the 17th regiment had a skirmish 
with a force of the enemy, in which John R. Newkirk and 
Jackson Anderson, of Com])any A, were captured. Shortly 
after this the brigade moved back into the Valley and marched 

1861-1865 303 

by way of Staunton into the Greenbrier section, where it re- 
mained for a short while, when the 17th regiment marched 
into Abb's Valley, and then remarched to Red Sulphur Springs 
and subsequently a part of the regiment marched into Mercer 
County and went into camp near Spanishburg, where it win- 
tered in 1863-4. On the approach of the Federal army from 
the Kanawha, in the spring of 1864, the whole of Jenkins' 
brigade took post at the Narrows. While the battle of Cloyd's 
farm was about to be, or was being fought, this cavalry bri- 
gade, now under the command of Colonel William H. French, 
crossed New River at Snidow's ferry and marched to Gap 
Mountain, with the view of cutting off General Crook's re- 
treat; failing in this it succeeded in cutting General Averill's 
command off from that of Crook's, compelling Averill to escape 
by the mountain paths. Shortly after this General McCaus- 
iand took command of the brigade, and marched it into the 
Valley of Virginia, where it skirmished from near Staunton, 
with Hunter's advance, until it reached Lynchburg. In a 
skirmish with the enemy near Lynchburg, Jack Hatcher, of 
Company A, was killed. On Hunter's retreat from Lynchburg, 
McCausland's brigade followed closely upon his rear, charg- 
ing into his wagon train at Hanging Rock, capturing a num- 
ber of prisoners and two pieces of artillery. From here the 
brigade marched in advance of Early's command to Staunton, 
and from thence to the Monocacy, where it engaged in that 
battle, in which Company A of the 17th regiment lost William 
French, Thomas Thornley, and A. J. Fanning, killed, and 
several wounded, among them Mr. Bolen. In the same com- 
pany with Mr. Bolen was John H. Robinson, who is now an 
eminent dentist of Mercer County, and who was wounded in 
the batle of Monocacy and captured and removed to Balti- 
more to the West Building Hospital, from which he escaped 
and finally made his way through Maryland into Virginia. 
The thrilling story of the escape of this brave soldier and his 
sufferings, is worth relating, but the manuscript furnished by 
him came too late to be inserted at length in this volume ; but 

304 New River Settlements 

something further will be said in regard to it in the appendix 
to this work. 

Immediately upon the close of the battle at Monocacy Gen- 
eral Early continued his advance on Washington, McCausland 
with his cavalry leading this advance, and having many severe 
combats with the enemy's cavalry, driving it before him. The 
enemy by this time had become thoroughly alarmed for the 
safety of the Capital, and poured into and around the city 
large bodies of troops, which induced General Early, on the 
night of the 12th, to retire toward the upper Potomac, crossing 
at White's Ford on the morning of the 14th of July, and camp- 
ing on the Virginia shore. By the 17th, Early's army had 
reached and crossed the Shenandoah, and went into camp near 
Castleman's ferry. On the 18th the enemy crossed the Blue 
Ridge at Snicker's Gap and made a heavy attack on the Con- 
federates, attempting to cross the river at Cool Springs, but 
were driven back with loss by the divisions of Rodes and 
Wharton. On the 19th, in a further attempt to cross the river 
at Berry's ferry, they were defeated with loss by the cavalry 
brigades of McCausland and Imboden. On the afternoon of 
the 20th Early again marched, taking the route up the Valley 
toward Newtown, and during the night Breckenridge's corps, 
made up of the divisions of Gordon and W^harton, followed by 
McCausland, marched by way of Millwood and the Valley 
turnpike to Middletown. The whole army marched to the 
vicinity of Strasburg and went into camp. On the 24th Gen- 
eral Early turned back to meet the pursuing enemy, which he 
met at Kernstown and quickly defeated; the principal fight- 
ing being done by Gordon and Wharton's divisions of Brecken- 
ridge's corps. General Early pressed on to Bunker's Hill and 

It was on July 27th that General McCausland started on 
his raid to Chambersburg, Pennsylvania. He had with him 
his own and Bradley T. Johnson's brigades, and acting under 
and in obedience to the orders of Lieutenant General Early, 

1861-1865 305 

to demand of the citizens of Chambersburg a named sum of 
money as an indemnity for the wanton burning of private 
dwelling houses in the Valley of Virginia by the Federal 
soldiers, and upon refusal to pay the money to burn the town. 
Reaching the town on the 30th of July, General McCausland 
made demand for the money, which was refused, and there- 
upon the buildings were fired. Adjutant A. C. Bailey, of the 
8th cavalry, was killed in Chambersburg by some infuriated 
citizens. McCausland, on his retreat into Virginia, halted at 
Moorefield, where before daylight on the 6th day of August his 
command was surprised by that of the Federal General Averill 
and defeated with a loss of many killed and wounded ; three 
flags, four pieces of artillery, and 400 captured. 

From the 10th of August to the 19th day of September, 
General Early's command marched and counter-marched re- 
peatedly over the territory between Winchester and the Poto- 
mac, with scarcely a day passing without a skirmish or small 
engagement of some kind. No army was better exercised, or 
inured to more active service. 

The Federal General Sheridan, with an army of more than 
40,000 men, on September 19th at Winchester, attacked Gen- 
eral Early's troops, numbering not exceeding 12,000, and after 
an all-day close and bloody battle, the enemy's large body of 
cavalry turned the Confederate left flank, and compelled a 
rapid retreat of the army of General Early, with a loss to him 
of 1707 in killed and wounded ; more than 2,000 captured, and 
the loss of five pieces of artillery and nine flags. The loss of the 
enemy was 5018. Among those killed on the Confederate side 
was Major General Rodes, and the brave and magnificent Col- 
onel George S. Patton, mortally wounded; while Lieutenant 
Colonels Edgar and Derrick were captured. The Federals 
lost General Russel, killed; and Generals Upton, Mcintosh and 
Chapman wounded. Among the New River Valley men, and 
those of adjacent territory, killed in this battle, were Captain 
George Bierne Chapman, commanding Chapman's battery; 
and Clinton Bailey, of the 8th Virginia cavalry, mortally 

306 New River Settlements 

wounded; and among the eaj)tiii'ed, were Captain Henry Bowen, 
and Private William H. Thompson, of the 8th cavalry; Cap- 
tain James B. Peck of Edgar's battalion; Lieutenant John A. 
Douglass, of the 30th Virginia battalion; Lieutenant J. N. 
Shanklin of Monroe County, and Captain Andrew Gott, of 
Mercer, who though wounded, succeeded in escaping a few days 
after his capture. 

General Early retired with his army to Fisher's Hill, where 
on the 22nd of September he was again attacked and defeated 
by (jeneral Sheridan ; and only saved by the firm and brave 
resistance of a portion of Wharton's division, and some of the 
artillery brigade which continued tlie fighting until General 
Early ordered them to desist. General Early reports his loss 
in this engagement at 30 killed, 210 wounded, and 995 missing, 
and 12 pieces of artillery. General Sheridan reports his loss )^ 
at 528. 

Getting his troops together and giving them a few days for | 
rest and recuperation. General Early, on October 1st, again l 
advanced down the Valley to the vicinity of Cedar Creek,J| 
■skirmishing all the way. An examination of the enemy's posi- 
tion satisfied the Confederate command that a successful at- 
tack could be made, although his array did not number above , 
10,000 men, while that of the enemy was close to 50,000. Aj 
more daring enterprise, under the circumstances, with suchi 
disi)arity of numbers, was never conceived or attempted in 
modern warfare. It was plain that if he did not succeed the] 
chances were that he would loose his whole army. Notwith- 
standing the diflficulties that were ijresented, as the movement] 
began on the early morning of the 19th day of October, the 
obstacles which seemed insurmountable disappeared, and byj 
a movement of a part of his troops on the flank of the enemy' 
under the gallant Gordon, and with Wharton's division on the i 
main turnpike. General Early threw his troops with a bold rush| 
upon the enemy, who were largely' asleep in their tents, and in 
an incredibly short space of time the enemy's 8th and 19th army ; 
corps were in utter route and confusion, with a large number' 

1861-1865 307 

thereof prisoners, together with many pieces of artillery and 
camp equipage. By noon the entire infantry fofce of the enemy 
had been routed and driven for several miles. Unfortunately, 
however, General Early halted his men when in the full tide 
of a most brilliant success, thus giving the enemy time to get 
themselves together again, which they did, and later turning 
upon the broken and scattered Confederate battalions, with his 
immense cavalry corps some 10.000 strong, drove Early's troops 
from the field with serious loss; although he had succeeded in 
getting off 1500 Federal prisoners, he lost most of the artillery 
he had captured and some of his own by the breaking down of 
the bridge over Cedar Creek. The Confederates retreated to 
New Market and there went into bivouac. The Confederate 
loss in this battle, including prisoners, is put down at about 
2500; while that of the Federal army is officially reported at 
5605. The Confederates lost Major General Kamseur, killed; 
the Federal General Bidwell was killed, and Generals Wright, 
Grover, and Ricketts wounded. It is to be regretted that the 
casualties in Wharton's division, and McCausland's cavalry 
brigade cannot be given for want of official or other informa- 

Between August the 10th and November 16th, 1864, General 
Sheridan had so completely devastated the country in which 
his army operated, that it was made most manifest that his 
orders to destroy the Valley, "So that even a crow traversing 
it would have to carry a haversack," were almost literally com- 
plied with ; about the only thing which he did not burn, destroy 
or carry away, being the stone fences. Scarce any such whole- 
sale pillage and wanton destruction ever followed in the wake 
of any army. To the people the losses amounted to millions of 

From the time of the battle of Cedar Creek, on the 19th day 
of October, to the 14th day of December, when Early's 2nd 
corps of the army, under General John B. Gordon, returned 
to the trenches around Richmond, there was a succession of 
marches and countermarches by General Early's troops, and 

-{08 New River Hettlements 

many spirited skirmishes, and some pretty severe combats be- 
tween the cavalry forces of the two armies, one of wliich was 
an attack on General McCausland's brigade, on the 12th day 
of November, near Cedarville, in which the enem^' was several 
times repulsed, but finally drove McCausland back towards 
Front Royal, witli a loss of two pieces of artillery, 10 killed, 
(>0 wounded, and 100 captured. It is stated upon authority, 
that up to the 15th day of November, General Early's troops 
had marched since the opening of the campaign on the 13th 
day of June, 1G70 miles, and fought 75 battles and skirmishes. 
On the 24th day of November McCausland's brigade, with those 
of Jackson and Imboden, had a sharp contention with Tor- 
bett's two divisions of Federal Cavalry at Liberty Mills, north- 
west of Gordonsville. The troops became very much mixed up 
with the enemy in the dark night. The enemy's reported loss in 
this encounter was 258. 

General Early established his headquarters at Staunton, 
while a portion of General Wharton's division went into camp 
about the 1st of December at Fishersville. This was the end 
of the Valley campaign of 1864. 

Whatever may be said of Early's Valley campaign as to its 
conduct and final disastrous results, it is certain that no student 
of military history will withhold from that officer the credit of 
being a bold, daring, brave soldier and strategist, who with a 
small army of scarce more than 12,000 of the most heroic men 
that ever shouldered muskets for the defense of their country, 
balHed, beat back, defeated, harrassed, and kept employed for 
more than five months in an open country, and within a radius 
of not more than 100 miles, an army of quite five times its num- 
bers, inflicting upon it during that period losses almost equal 
to double its own numbers; and keeping during the period 
referred to the Federal authorities in a state of nervous tremor 
for fear that the bold "Captain of the Valley" might swoop 
down upon the Federal city. 

Lieutenant Colonel Vincent A. Witcher, on the 17th day 
of September, 1804, with his 34th Virginia battalion of cavalry, 

1861-18G5 300 

left Tazewell Court House, and passing by way of Narrows of 
New Eiver to Lewisburg, was there joined by the companies 
of the Thnrmonds and those of Captain William H. Payne, 
J. Bumgards and J. W. Amick, raising his effective strength to 
523 men, with which he moved northward across the mountains 
into the counties of Upshur and Lewis, making extensive cap- 
tures of horses, beef cattle, and 300 prisoners, and destroying 
large amounts of government stores, and returning without 
loss. (1) 

On October 20th, 1864, Captain William H. Payne, at the 
head of his command and while marching down Coal River, in 
Raleigh County, against the enemy, was shot from his horse, 
falling mortally wounded. His left arm was broken, the ball 
passing through his body, from which wound he died on the 
next day. He was a young man of great promise, the son of 
Mr. Charles H. Payne, of Giles County. Had young Payne 
lived a month longer he would have become Colonel at the re- 
organization of his command. He was a man of exemplary 
[labits, well educated, of dauntless courage, and was a strik- 
ingly handsome, fine-looking soldier. The officers of his com- 
pany at the time of his death were Lieutenant John Tabler and 
Charles R. Price. Major Nounan with a detachment of cavalry, 
in the month of October, penetrated the enemy's lines, and 
marched to the Kanawha River, doing some hurt to the enemy, 
[ind returned without serious loss. 

On the 2nd dav of October, 1864, the enemv 2500 stron"-, in- 
eluding one negro cavalry regiment, under the command of the 
Federal General Burbridge, attacked Saltville, Virginia, de- 
fended by a small force under the command of Generals Echols, 
Vaughn and Williams; and were after an all-day contest re- 
pulsed and forced to retire, with a loss of about 350 men killed 
and wounded. In the December following, a Federal army 
about 6,000 strong, under the command of the Federal General 

(1) Witcher's command had, in 1863, a severe engagement at the 
mouth of Beech Creek, now Mingo County, with the 4th West Virginia 
eavalry, under Col. Hall, in which Hall was killed and Witcher badly 

310 New River Settlements 

Stoneman, marched into Southwestern Virginia and was met 
by General John C. Breckenridge Mith some small remnants 
and fragments of Confederate commands, numbering less than 
1,000 men. For several days frequent combats ensued, mostly 
in favor of the Federals, who penetrated the country as far 
east as Wytheville, destroying much of the railroad, especially 
bridges, and some Government stores in that town and at other 
points, also doing some damage to the lead mines. As stated, 
the first named Federal force had with it one regiment of negro 
cavalry, whose fighting qualities was the boast of the Federal 
officers, they even intimating that the negroes were better sold- 
iers than their white men. On the 20th of December a large 
Federal force attacked the command of Colonel Robert T. 
Preston at the salt works, and after a brisk fight lasting until 
night. Colonel Preston, who had only 400 men — mostly old men 
• — reserves, withdrew his men, and tlie Federals entered and 
took possession, doing considerable damage, after which they, 
finding nothing further to destroy, returned to Kentucky and 

General Thomas L. Rosser, with his Virginia cavalry brigade, 
and the Sth Virginia cavalry regiment of Payne's brigade, on 
the night of — or rather before daylight on the morning of — 
tlie 11th day of January, 1865, attacked a Federal force at 
Beverley, V/est "v'irginia, capturing, killing and wounding 572, 
without loss to his command. 

The old brigade of Echols, of Wharton's division, which had 
been in ([uarters near Fishersviile in I>cceml)er, on the 18th 
day of January left for Dublin I>e])ot, in Southwestern Vir- 
ginia, and McCausIand's brigade marched from east of the Blue 
Ridge, by way of Fishersville, en route to winter quarters in 
Alleghanev and (Ireenbrier Counties. Bv the last davs of 
February all of the Confederate troops had departed from the 
valley, save a small force of cavalry under General Rosser, 
and the remnant of Wharton's division, numbering less than 
1,000 men, badly clad and poorly fed. A force of 9,987 Federal 
Cavalry, with artillery, under the comnumd of General Sheri- 

1861-1865 311 

dan, on the 2nd day of March, attacked Early's small force at 
Waynesboro, completely demolishing it, capturing about 1600 
prisoners, many of them citizens and convalescents, who were 
getting out of the country with General Early's troops. Early 
escaped to the mountains, finally reached Richmond, was sent 
to Lynchburg and from there to Southwestern Virginia to take 
command of the troops in that department. 

General Sheridan crossed the Blue Ridge, laid waste the 
whole country tlirough which he passed, cut the James River 
canal, destroyed the Central railroad, and made his way down 
to the north of Richmond about the middle of March, where he 
was threatened with serious trouble and turned his course to 
the White House on the Pamunky, finally joining General 
Grant, at Petersburg, on March 27th. 

On March 5th Pickett's division was relieved by that of 
General Mahone, and marched to within two miles of Chester 
Station, near the Richmond and Petersburg turnpike, where it 
went into bivouac amidst a cold rain which continued for two 
days. On the 8th Pickett had a grand review of his division, 
after which and on the next day, the 9th, it marched to Man- 
chester, and on the following day, the 10th, through Richmond 
and halted in the outer line of works near the Brooke road; 
thence on the left along the line of works to the Nine Mile 
road, and the following day, the 12th, returned to the position 
near the Brooke road. On the 14th it marched to near Ashland, 
where it was halted in line of battle. On the 16th the 15th 
Virginia regiment of Corse's brigade had a sharp skirmish 
with Sheridan's cavalry at Ashland. Sheridan switching off 
towards the Pamunky, the division followed him to that river, 
built a bridge, but found it useless to attempt to follow the 
bold riders any farther, and from thence returned to the Nine 
Mile road. It marched on the 25th to Richmond and took the 
train for Dunlop's Station, where it rested until the evening 
of the 2J)th, when it was ordered to the right of General Lee's 
army. It marched to and crossed the Appomattox on a pontoon 
bridge five miles above Petersburg. Here the brigades of 

312 New River Settlements 

Stuart, Corse, and Terry took the cars for Sutherland's Sta- 
tion, on the Southside railroad, but there not being room on 
the train for all, the first and 7th Virginia regiments had to 
march, reaching that night Sutherland's Tavern, on Cox's road, 
in a drizzling rain. Before daybreak the next morning, the 
3()th, the march was resumed to Hatcher's Run and to the 
extreme right of the line near Five Forks, where the two last 
mentioned regiments, with some cavalry, were thrown forward 
to drive off some Federal cavalry, which they succeeded in do- 
ing, — Hunton's brigade was detached and serving with Bush- 
rod Johnson's division. At an early hour on the morning of the 
31st the march was again taken up in the direction of Din- 
widdle Court House. Finding the Federals in heavy force at 
the crossing of Chamberlayne's Creek, engaged with Fitzhugh 
Lee's cavalry, Terry's brigade, led by the 3rd Virginia regiment, 
effected a crossing at an old mill dam, but with loss to the 
leading regiment, it having to wade the creek, which was waist 
deep, to dislodge the enemy posted on the opposite side. The 
division advanced rapidly in pursuit of the retreating enemy, 
who made several stands, and quite brisk fighting occurred. 
Within a mile of Dinwiddle Court House the enemy, with two 
cavalry divisions, made a bold stand, but were quickly driven 
with loss; the Confederate loss was small. General Terry suf- 
fered a severe injury by the fall of his horse, which was shot. 
The division occupied the field until 1 o'clock, A, M., of the 1st 
of April, and was then withdrawn and posted at Five Forks, 
where, with the brigades of Ransom and Wallace and the Con- 
federate cavalry, it fiercely assailed about the middle of 
the afternoon by about 20,000 Federal infantry and cavalry. 
The Confederates did not number more than 7,000, yet manfully 
and bravely stood their ground until almost surrounded, and 
finally, about dark, was forced to yield the field with a loss of 
more than 3,000 of their number captured, with several pieces 
of artillery. No better fight ever made under the circum- 
stances. In its close it was hand to hand. The day was lost 
simply because the Confederates had both flanks turned, were 

1861-1865 313 

in fact pushed off the field by weight of numbers. The repeated 
Federal assaults up to the last were repulsed with great loss 
to them. The Confederate loss in this battle is put down at 
between 3,000 and 4,000 prisoners, 13 colors and six guns ; and 
on the Federal side the loss of Warren's 5th infantry corps is 
put down at 634 in killed and wounded. 

The loss of General Grant's army from the 29th day of March 
to the 9th day of April, the date of Lee's surrender, is officially 
reported at 15,692, a number equal to about one-half the num- 
ber of men I^ee had when he left Petersburg, and more than 
equal to the number that had guns in their hands on the day 
of the surrender. 

Company D of the 7th regiment lost in the Five Forks battle 
6 men, viz: John R. Crawford, John S. Dudley, A. L. Sumner, 
and G. C. Mullens, captured, and William D. Peters and John 
A. Hale, severely wounded. No record is extant, as far as 
known, of the losses in the Giles and Mercer companies of the 
24th Virginia regiment. An incident, however, occurring in the 
Giles company of the 24th regiment is worthy of note. Late 
in the afternoon, when Warren's Federal army corps had swung 
around the Confederate left and attacked Terry's brigade in the 
rear, three Federal soldiers attacked McCrosky of the Giles 
company, one of whom he killed, wounded another and escaped, 
with a wound in his face, from the third. The man he killed 
with the butt of his gun, braining him, breaking the gun off at 
the breach. Leaving the field the night of the battle, Pickett's 
division marched to Ford's depot on the Southside railroad, 
bivouacing, and joining, the next morning, the divisions of 
Heth and Wilcox, retreating from Petersburg. The division 
was now about 2200 strong, having lost more than half its num- 
bers in the battle of the day before. It continued its march, 
Hunton's brigade in the meantime having united with the divi- 
sion, on the 2nd of April, to Deep Creek, heavily pressed by the 
enemy's cavalry; especially was this true of the 4th and 5th, 
having occasionally to halt and form line of battle, and now 

314 New River Settlements 

and then a square, to keep off the pursuers; without food and 
living on corn shelled from the cob, which was eaten even with- 
out parching. 

In the early morning of the (>th the division reached Harpers 
farm, on i^^ailor's creek, where it encountered a heavy force of 
Federal cavalry with which it skirmished for several hours, and 
finally with a furious attack front, flanks and rear, and in a 
hand to hand contest, it was bodily picked up by the enemy, 
whose numbers were sufficient to have thrown down their guns 
and have captured every Confederate on the field and bound 
him hand and foot with ropes. A portion of the division escaped 
capture and got off the field with General Pickett and Brigadier 
General Stuart. Generals Corse, Hunton, and Terry were cap- 
tured, as was also Lieutenant General Ewell, Major General 
Custis Lee, and perhaps others. The escaped portion of the 
division marched to Appomattox under the command of Gen- 
eral Pickett; Terry's brigade being commanded by Major W. 
W, Bentley, of the 24th regiment; that of Corse by Colonel 
Arthur Herbert; that of Hunton by Major M. P. Spessard. On 
the 9th General Pickett surrendered 1031 officers and men. The 
men captured in the battle of Five Forks, as well also as those 
captured at Sailor's creek, were sent to prison at Point Look- 
out, Maryland, from whence they were discharged in the June 
and July following. Those surrendered at Appomattox were 
paroled and went home. Of McCausland's cavalry brigade 
there were surrendered at Appomattox 27 oflicers and men. 
Wharton's division, or what remained of it after the disaster 
at Waynesboro, with other troops in Southwestern Virginia, 
under the command of General Early, were, on learning of Gen- 
eral Lee's surrender at Appomattox, disbanded at Christians- 
burg, Virginia. (General Early had been sick for some days 
previous to the surrender and was riding in an ambulance, and 
as said, when receiving reliable information of the surrender 
at Appomattox remarked, prefixing some expletives, "I wish 
Gabriel would now blow his horn." 

During the year of 1864, along the border of Western and 

1861-1865 315 

Southwestern Virginia, in Monroe, Mercer and other counties, 
many outrages were committed by bands of thieves and robbers 
who roamed over the country, regarding neither friend nor 
foe, but seeking their own gain and gratifying their own spleen 
against non-combatants. There lived on Flat Top mountain a 
staunch Southern man by the name of James Wiley, quietly at 
home and disturbing no one. He was attacked in his own house 
by one of the bands referred to, but succeeded in driving them 
off, being aided by his young son, Milton, and wounding one 
of the gang. A short time afterwards he and his son w^ere 
again attacked bv another one of these bands and killed. This 
occurred in the spring of 1862. On another occasion, in 1864, 
Mr. Albert B. Calfee, with his younger brother, John C. Cal- 
fee, and Mr. Elisha Heptinstall, were traveling from the resi- 
dence of Colonel William H. French, in Mercer County, to- 
ward the Court House, and were fired upon by a band of these 
marauders from ambush, and Heptinstall was killed and John 
C. Calfee mortally wounded. This occurred on the 8th day of 
August, 1864. About the same time a party of Confederate 
outlaws went to the house of Mr, Jacob Harper, in Raleigh 
County, and took him a prisoner, led him out into the woods 
and shot him. Harper was a plain, honest, upright, peaceable 
citizen and harmed no one. 

The war was now practically over and no malice existed be- 
tween those who did the actual fighting in the battle. The 
question of secession being one left open by the framers of the 
Federal Constitution, every man had a right to exercise his 
own opinion in regard thereto, and hence he had a right to 
fight on the one side or the other as to him might seem right 
and proper, provided lie fought for his convictions. The Con- 
federate soldier fought for a principle as sacred to him as the 
one for which the Federal soldier battled. Again, this Con- 
federate soldier felt that he had discharged his duty and had 
nothing to ask forgiveness for and asked none. He had no 
apologies to offer or make; he had fought manfully the in- 
vaders of his soil, who came to kill and destroy. He did not 

310 Xew River Settlements 

ask those who fought against him in the war to forget the strug- 
gle; let them remember it if they might, but we would not for- 
get it if we could, and could not if we would. We intend to 
perpetuate the memories of the conflict, the battles won or lost 
we intend shall be remembered to latest generations. Will the 
world forget IMarathon, Waterloo or Thermopylne? No more 
than it will forget Manassas, Sharpsburg, Chancelorsville, 
Gettysburg, the Wilderness or Spottsylvania. The contest was 
between Americans, and their deeds of heroism and valor are 
the common heritage of the American people. The story is told 
of the great and gifted preacher, Henry Ward Beecher, that in 
the early part of the year 1862 he visited England and was 
invited to make a speech. The crowd was exceedingly boister- 
ous and he was howled and hissed at so that he could not be 
heard, but finally a large brawny Englishman, with a broad, 
big mouth and stentorian voice, shouted : "You told us you 
would whip the Rebels in ninety days and you have not done 
it." The crowd becoming quiet for a moment, Mr. Beecher 
said: "If you will be quiet for a moment I will tell you why; 
when we started out in the war and made the statement that 
we would whip them in ninety days, we thought we were fight- 
ing Englishmen, but we soon found out that we were fighting 
Americans." There will never be in the history of the world 
such soldiers as the Confederate — the Confederate Private. 
While it is true that the world has furnished few, if any, such 
men as Lee, Jackson, Johnston, Ikniuregard, Stuart, and many 
other Confederate (Jenerals that might be mentioned; but it 
must not be forgotten that no Generals ever led forth such men 
to battle as the Confederate soldier. His like will never be 
seen again. Some one has written some lines in regard to the 
(Confederate private, a few of which are here inserted: 

"From every home in the sweet Southland 
Went a soldier lad, at his heart's command, 
To fipht in a cause both true and just, 
To conquer or to die, as a hero must. 

The hardships of war bravely bore. 
And proudly the shabby gray he wore, 

1861-18G5 317 

T'was the only color on earth for him; 
Not hunger or thirst could his spirit dim. 

With every battle hope sprang up anew; 
He felt that the cause he loved was true, 
And surely the God who brave men led 
Would help and guide them, living or dead. 

Sometimes they won, then hope ran high; 
Again they lost, but it would not die. 
They were privates only, and theirs to obey; 
Nor theirs to command or lead the fray. 

But theirs to endure and follov/ and fight; 
To know that the cause they loved was right. 
And so to the end they followed and fought. 
With love and devotion which could not be bought." 

After the surrender at Appomattox arrangements were soon 
made by the Federal Government to release the Confederate 
prisoners in its hands, of whom there were many thousands. 
They began to return home during the months of June and July, 
and they were pitiable looking objects indeed. Peglegs, stub 
arms, sunken eyes, emaciated frames, teeth loose and falling 
out on account of scurvy, with health broken and hope almost 
gone; returning to the land of their nativity to find it prac- 
tically a waste place. 

Thousands of men on both sides of our great civil conflict 
perished in military prisons; charges, criminations and re- 
criminations of ill and inhuman treatment of prisoners by both 
sides were made. It may be here noted, that military prison life 
is horrible at any time and under any circumstances. A great 
bodv of men thrown and huddled together are not onlv difficult 
to control and manage under the best system of dicipline that 
can be adopted, but such masses are always subject to disease 
in every form. The facts are too plain and manifest to admit 
of doubt, that the oflicials of the Federal Government were J^ , 
wholly to blame for all the ills and horrible results that hefe\\'T^ 
these poor prisoners, their own as Avell as the Confederates, be- 
cause of, first, the obstacles tliey placed in the way of a fair 
exchange, and in the next place by their absolute refusal to 
exchange at all. That there were isolated cases of bad treat- 
ment of Federal prisoners by Confederate prison keepers is 

318 New River Settlements 

y I doubtless true, but if so. they Avere fev.' in nniiiber and excep- 
r^' jftonal cases, while on the other hand the keepers of Federal 
^'^ prisons v/ere cruel and brutal in their treatment of Confeder- 
/*' ate prisoners, and this with full knowledge on tlie part of the 
Federal authorities. The North was full-handed with provi- 
sions and medicines, while the South was impoverished. For 
those whom the fortunes of war had placed in their hands, the 
South did the very best it could, giving to them the same ra- 
tions that the soldiers in the field received; while the Federal 
authorities in the midst of abundance willfully inflicted 
wanton deprivation on the Confederate prisoners. An examin 
ation of the reports of the Federal Secretary of War made in 
1866, shows that 22,576 Federal prisoners died in Southern 
prisons, and that 22,246 Confederate prisoners died in Northern 
prisons. The report of the Surgeon General of the United 
States shows that in round numbers, the Confederate pris- 
oners in the hands of the Federal authorities numbered 220,- 
000, out of which 26,246 died. That out of 270,000 Federal 
prisoners held by the South, 22,576 died ; more than 12 per cent, 
of the Confederate prisoners, and less than 9 per cent, of Fed- 
eral prisoners died. The urgency of the Northern people at 
home, as well as many prominent Federal officers favoring ex- 
change of prisoners, drew from General Grant a letter to Gen- 
eral Butler, dated August 18th, 1864, in which he says: ''It is 
hard on our men held in the Southern prisons not to exchange 
them, but it is humanity to those left in the ranks to fight our 
battles. Every man released on parole, or otherwise, becomes 
an active soldier against us at once, either directly or indirect- 
ly. If we commence a system of exchange which liberates all 
prisoners taken, we will have to fight on until the whole South 
is exterminated. If we hold those caught, they amount to no 
more than dead men. At this i)articular time to release all 
Rebel prisoners in the North Avould insure Sherman's defeat 
and would compromise our safety here." 

Among the men of Mercer County who perished in Northern 
prisons were Robert H. Brian, A. I. Golden, J. H. Godby, H. 

1866-1905 319 

F. Hatcher, William Keaton, W. J. Keaton and John W. Nel- 
son. These men died in Camp Chase, Ohio, during the latter 
part of the war. 




Eecoi'oSti'Kction in Mercer County, W. Va. — Constitutional 
Amendment Disfranchising Confederates. — Registration 
Law. — County Seat Agitation. — The "Committee of Safe- 
ty." — The Creation of Summers County. — The Restoration 
of the Elective Franchise. — Industrial I^evelopment. — 
The Flat Top Coal Field.— Railroad Construction.— The 
Citv of Bluefield. 

The Confederate soldier, with the close of the war, returned 
to his country, where he had once had a place he called home, 
but now — at least in many instances — he found nothing but 
blackened ruins and utter waste places. As he had been brave 
and magnanimous in war, and had in good faith laid down his 
arms, he returned to engage not in war, but in peaceful pur- 
suits, build up and start anew and become a useful citizen of 
the young Commonwealth. He had no money or property, save 
perhaps a small piece of land, if he had been fortunate enough 
to own such before the war. In many instances, an arm or 
leg had been lost in battle, or his health greatly shattered. He 
was not the man he was when he entered the army ; and many 
of his nearest — dearest friends, relatives — had perished in the 
strife. His only trust was in God and his own good right arm, 
if he was fortunate to have that limb left. On all sides were 
gloom and despair, to a less braver heart and manlier spirit. 
He sought no quarrel with anyone, only asked to be free, not 
disturbed, and he would try and work his way through the 
remainder of his days as best he might. He neither wanted nor 
sought revenge for wrongs, real or imaginary. That for which 

320 New River Settlements 

for four years he had struggled and suffered had not been ac- 
conii)lished, and the effort to establisli it had failed. Nothing 
was left him but to live lor the future, in the consciousness of 
having faithfully discharged his duty in the past, and with a 
fixed determination to do this in the future. The Governor of 
his state (2), in a letter to the Federal Secretary of War, op- 
posed his return to his country, and a few in his midst desired 
to rob him of his rights as a citizen of the new Commonwealth. 
In time of profound peace, unarmed, perhaps with but one leg 
or one arm, broken in health and in purse he was as much 
feared as when he carried his musket with forty rounds of 
cartridges, marching beneath the "Stars and Bars.'' If he was 
found with an old, poor, crippled mule or horse, that General 
Grant had given him at Appomattox, trying to plow and make 
bread for his starving wife and children, he was robbed of this 
upon the plea that it was Government property, either Federal 
or Rebel. It was dig or die and his enemies preferred him to 
take the latter course. 

It is true that at that time he was a citizen of the state with 
all his rights as such guaranteed to him by the Constitution of 
the new Commonwealth, with no law in force that in any way 
deprived him of the privilege of full citizenship ; but the devil 
is always ready to aid the ingenuity of bad men to accomplish 
bad things, and hence the only way, in a measure, at least, to 
get rid of the ex-Confederate soldier, was to decitizenize him, 
and thereby either drive him from the state, or place him in a 
condition of political vassalage or serfdom. The political ma- 
chinery was put to work to accomplish the purpose in view by 
decitizenizing all ex-Confederates, as well also as all who had 
aided or sympathized with them. This could not be done under 
the then existing organic law of the state, and a change in this 
law was necessary to the accomplishment of the object in view; 
but be it said to the credit of the better class of the then domi- 
nant party, they took no part in this crime against liberty, and 
did not seek to fix manacles on the poor Confederate — it was 

(2). Boreman to Staunton Series II. Vol. VIII, Reb. Record p. 533 

1866-1905 321 

the other set, generally of the vile and vindictive; when 
"Prometheus was chained to the rock it was not the proud 
Eagle, but the miserable Vulture that came down and tore out 
his vitals." In all great revolutions, like in all the great floods 
of waters, it is the filth and foul things that rise to the surface 
and float, while the gold lies at the bottom. 

It was late in the fall of 1865 before there was anything like 
the full restoration of Civil Government in Mercer County. All 
things in Government were new or novel to the people. They 
had alwavs known, and their ancestors before them had known 
for more than a century, nothing but the old Virginia County 
Court system, with one or more magistrates in each magisterial 
district in the county, clothed with jurisdiction to try warrants 
for small claims, and to sit as a Court and administer county 
aft'airs. The Circuit Court trying all criminal and civil cases, 
as well as chancery causes. Now they found magisterial dis- 
tricts no longer in existence; townships created in their stead, 
with a justice of the peace in each township, and he regarded 
the biggest man therein, although in some instances he could 
not write his name and perhaps did not know the way to the 
mill, with jurisdiction to try cases involving an hundred dol- 
lars, with the right to empannel a jury of six men. In lieu of 
tlie old County Court, a Board of Supervisors to administer 
county affairs, and this board, in part, at least, was composed 
of men who not only could not write their names, but whose 
honesty was not above par; however, this was only true for a 
short while, when better men were selected for this position, 
such as L, D. Martin, Silas T. Reynolds, William C. Honaker, 
and others. 

Judge Nathaniel Harrison, of Monroe County, having been 
made Circuit Judge very soon after the close of hostilities, 
appointed Benjamine White, Sherifl', and George Evans, Clerk 
and Recorder of Mercer County. White had been a violent 
Secessionist at the commencement of the war, but had changed 
his views somewhat about the close thereof; while Mr. Evans, 
being a Northern man by birth, was doubtless a Union man 

322 New River Settlements 

from tlie beginning. Judge Harrison (1) had been a Con- 
federate, and as late as 18(>2 bad applied for appointment on 
the staff of Brigadier General Chapman. Thus it will be seen 
that men who started out on the Southern side, found out their 
mistake, as they claimed, in the latter part of the war or just 
about the close, were honored. They started out in the boat 
and as long as there was fair breeze and it floated well, they 
were willing to stay, but when adverse winds blew and it was 
threatened with wreck and disaster, they jumped out, pulled 
for the shore and left their friends to perish if they must. 
This was true of more than one man in Mercer County, even 
extending to those who had volunteered in the army and taken 
an oath to support the Confederate Government ; yet, disregard- 
ing their oaths, deserted and went over to the enemy, and this is 
not all, came back among their neighbors and friends and en- 
gaged in pillage in its worst form. These deserters were with- 
out honor among their own people and distrusted and despised 
by those to whom they deserted. 

In the fall of 1805 Judge Harrison rode into the town of 
Princeton ; that is, where it once stood, sat on his horse, no one 
inviting him to stop or alight ; he rode seven and one-half miles 
east to Concord Church on the Red Sulphur turnpike road 
where he opened and held his court. The ex-Confederates who 
Lad been elected at the election that fall were arbitrarily re- 
fused permission to qualify, and others who claimed to have 
adhered to the Union were installed in their stead. 

The Legislature met at Wheeling in .January, 1866, and in a 
contest Colonel ^yilliam H. French, who had been elected to 
that body was unseated by Colonel Thomas Little, who had not 
been elected. By a joint resolution of the two Houses, an 
amendment to the (Jonstitution was proposed, by which, if 
adopted, all ex-Confederates and their sym])athizers would be 
decitizenized. At the session which j)rovided for the submis- 
sion of tlie amendment to the Constitution, which had been pro- 

(l). Articles of impeachment were exhibited against him in the 
Legislature and he was forced to resign the Judgship. 

1866-1905 323 

posed in the session of 1865, an Act was passed declaring that 
no one should be allowed to vote at the next sncceeding elec- 
tion, except those who would take a prescribed oath known as 
the "Test Oath." The amendment referred to is in the follow- 
ing words and figures : "No person who since the 1st day of 
June, 1861, has given or shall give voluntary aid or assistance 
to the rebellion against the United States, shall be a citizen of 
this state, or be allowed to vote at any election held therein, 
unless he has volunteered in the military or naval service of 
the United States and has been or shall be honorably discharged 
therefrom." This was the first instance in the history of a free 
government, where the Legislature plainly and intentionally 
subverted the Constitution of a free state, and openly and de- 
liberately violated their oaths and the plain provision of the 
(Constitution, which provided that "The white male citizens of 
the state shall be entitled to vote at all elections held within the 
election districts in which they resi)ectively reside." The elec- 
tion at which this amendment to the Constitution was to be 
voted upon by the people, was held on the 24th day of May, 
1866, and was ratified by a vote of 22,224 for, to 15,302 against 
the same. Only 75 votes were cast in the County of Mercer, of 
which 61 were for ratification and 14 for rejection, yet the vot- 
ing population at that time in Mercer County under the Consti- 
tution as it then existed, was not less than 1,000. Among those 
voting against this iniquity in Mercer will be found the names 
of Colonel Thomas Little, David Lilley, Sylvester Upton, and 
Kussell G. French, the latter classed an ex-Federal soldier. 

Truly loyal officers were now elected to the various ofljces, 
and finding so few regarded as qualified to discharge the duties 
of the same, it was found necessary to give two or three offices 
to one man ; in fact in one or more instances it was stated that 
one or more men held at least five offices each at the same time. 

The Legislature of West Virginia not only disfranchised men 
and kept them from voting, but passed numerous laws prevent- 
ing attorneys from practicing their profession, people from 
teaching school, men from sitting on juries, or from prosecut- 

324 New River Settlements 

ing suits, unless lliey would take the ''Test Oatlu" These laws 
against attorneys who luifl been engaged as soldiers in the 
Confederate army, or had sympathized with those engaged in 
armed hostility against the Government of the United States, 
brought to the Courts of the state, especially in the Southern 
border counties, swarms of ill pests. Northern carpet-bag 
lawyers, who without practice where they came from, and per- 
haps having left their country for their country's good, came 
to feast and to fatten on the miseries and sufferings of the 
poor, downtrodden, disfranchised, tax ridden Confederate peo- 
ple. The voice of the lawyer of the community, to whom the 
people looked for aid and were willing to trust their lives, 
property and honor in his hands, was, with few exceptions, re- 
fused a hearing in the court room. There were a few attorneys 
residents, or who became residents, who were Union men, fair- 
minded and just, among them Henry L. Gillispie, James H. 
McGinnis, Frank Hereford, J. Speed Thompson, Edwin Sehon, 
and Colonel James W. Davis; the latter gentlemen had been a 
Colonel in the Confederate army, but had succeeded in persuad- 
ing the Legislature that he was a truly repentant rebel, sorry 
for his sins, and succeeded in getting that body, by special Act, 
to forgive his waywardness and restore to him the privilege of 
practicing his profession without taking the attorneys' "Test 

Shortly after Colonel Davis had been permitted to enter 
again upon the practice of the law, he was employed in a 
case in tlie Circuit Court of Mercer County, involving the title 
to a horse, which had been taken or stolen from Colonel John S. 
Carr during the war. On the other side of the case was the witty 
Irish lawyer, J. H. McGinnis, of Raleigh. In course of the argu- 
ment of Colonel Davis before the jury he took occasion to say 
how good and magnanimous the Legislature had been to him, by 
again conferring on him the privilege to earn a living for his 
family by the practice of his profession; he followed this by 
a bit of his war experience in the battle of Chapmansville, de- 
scribing the wounds he received by which he lost a finger, and 


1866-1905 325 

received a sliot in the shoulder and back. The resourceful Mc- 
Ginnis, while listeniug to the Colonel's speech, had composed 
some verses which in his reply, and in his inimitable way, he 
repeated, nu:ch to the discomfiture of the Colonel, but to tJie 
joy of the bystanders; only one of which verses is recollected, 
and ran as follows : 

"On the battlefield I long did linger 

Where guns and cannons they did crack, 

Until by a cruel shot, I lost this finger. 
And got this hole in my back." 

In order to efi'ectuate the purpose of the framers of the Con- 
stitutional amendment and disfranchisement law already ad- 
verted to, the Legislature enacted what was known as a Reg- 
istration law, providing for a registration of the voters and 
creating a Board of Registration composed of three members-^ 
to be appointed by the Governor, and to hold their office at 
his will and pleasure. This proved a powerful weapon in the 
hands of the party then in power, who evidently intended 
thereby to perpetuate tliemselves therein. It was almost the 
equal of the proposed "Force Bill" introduced into Congress 
a few years ago, if it had been wielded by wise and conserva- 
tive heads, and would have kept the then dominant political 
party long in power in the state; but like all other engines of 
oppression, originated and constructed in Republics for the 
destruction of the liberty of the Anglo-Saxon, they became a 
boomerang in the hands of those who wielded them, finally 
effecting their own destruction. It is said, "Whom the gods 
would destroy they first make mad.'' This was certainly true 
of the dominant party in West Virginia at that time, and espe- 
cially in Mercer County. Their apparent inordinate desire to 
punish those who differed with them about the great civil con- 
flict, and the quest of individuals for place and power, led them 
to extremes in the Legislature, and the enforcement of pro- 
scriptive laws. They very soon began to quarrel among them- 
selves, and the scramble for the public pap, and the crumbs 
which fell from the master's table engendei*ed, as it always 

32G New River Settlements 

does, bad blood. Very soon the better and more conservative 
part of the dominant party became disousted and disposed to 
fall in with tlieir neiohbors — ex-C'onfederates — insisting upon 
according to them some rights, besides the payment of taxes 
and right to die. 

As already staled in this worl^, the County site had in the 
year of 1837 been fixed at a place called Princeton, but so soon 
as the Judge of the Circuit Court opened and held a term of 
court at Concord Church, some of the people in that and other 
sections of the county began the agitation of a removal of the 
County site from Princeton to Concord Church. Steps were 
very soon taken to have the Board of Supervisors order an 
election removing the seat of Justice from Princeton to Con- 
cord Church ; and an election was held, but Concord Church 
failing to receive the requisite three-fifths vote, the removal- 
ists failed in their scheme. Very soon another election was 
held which also failed, but the Board was induced to declare 
the result in favor of removal. 

Colonel Thomas Little, the Delegate from the County to the 
Legii^lature at its session of 1867, procured the passage of an 
Act locating permanently the County site at Princeton, but 
at the ses?sion of 1808 George Evans, the Representative from 
Mercer (.'ouuty, procured the repeal of the Act of 1807 ; and 
HO the fight continued both before the people and in the Courts. 
Injunctions vrere obtained first by one and then by the other 
})a.rty until the question was finally settled as will be herein- 
after slated. The litigation over the County Court House 
question ended with the disposition of the Bill, prepared by one 
Martin 11. Holt, un attorney of Raleigh County, which was 
known as the celebrated "Bill of Peace,'' in which appeared the 
names of the Board of Sujiervisors of the County, a corpora- 
tion, plaintiff against a large i)art of the people of the county, 
who favored I*rinceton as the seat of Justice, as defendants. 
Ill this Bill was set forth the various steps, acts, doings and 
proceedings from which it was contended that the County site 

1866-1905 327 

had been removed from Princeton and located at Concord 
Church, and also setting forth the Acts of the Legislature 
touching the same as hereinbefore referred to; and alleging 
and charging in etfect that all of the people of the county who 
were opposed to Concord Church as the lawful and proper loca- 
tion for the seat of Justice, were a lawless band and disturbers 
of tlie quietude of the people and of the public peace, and pray- 
ing an injunction inhibiting and restraining them from fur- 
ther action looking to the opening of the question. An injunc- 
tion was granted, but about as quickly dissolved, and as before 
stated, this was the end of all litigation concerning this trouble- 
some matter. 

In January, 1870, a few of the citizens of the little village 
of Princeton assembled and constituted themselves a Commit- 
tee of Safety, for the purpose of devising a plan by which the 
much vexed County site question might be finally settled. After 
a careful review and consideration of the situation in all its 
aspects, local, political, and otherwise, it was concluded that 
the first and best step to take was to have the Legislature of 
the State, then in session at WTieeling, pass a special Act sub- 
mitting to the people the question of the location of the seat 
of justice, to be settled by a majority vote. In order to get 
such a law passed, it was deemed necessary to send to the seat 
of government a man who was recognized as belonging to and 
a leader of the dominant i)arty then in control of the Legisla- 
ture. The man was found in the person of Mr. Benjamine 
White, who had been and was still the Sheriff of the county. 
White was a man of influence and weight in the county with his 
party, and was fairly well known in the southern part of the 
state, and a man of fair address, and when aroused was a bold 
and plausible talker, and could make himself felt in any enter- 
prise or cause he chose to esj)ouse. He was going on public 
business, but in the interest of Princeton ; which neither he 
nor those in the secret let tlie public know. Once in Wheeling 
and the matter being put under way, on account of the irregu- 
larity and uncertainty of mails and the long time that it took 

328 New River Settlements 

letters and papers to reach our section in midwinter, it was 
felt that no intelligence of what was going on at the capitol 
was likely to reach Mercer Countv until the mission of the mes- 
senger had been accomplished and the Legislature adjourned; 
which would then be too late for any organized opposition to 
Mr. White's bill, should anyone wish to oppose so fair a mode 
of settlement of our local trouble. As before stated, Mr. White 
was going on public business, and it was not to be expected 
that he would be compelled to pay his personal expenses, there- 
fore a few persons raised and placed in his hands $100.00 to 
meet these expenses. There were no railroads in this immedi- 
ate section in that day and no public conveyances of any kind, 
so Mr. White, in the dead of winter, mounted his horse and 
pushed out over the mountains to the Kanawha, where he took 
passage on a steamboat to Wheeling by way of the Kanawha 
and Ohio Rivers. On his arrival at the capitol and meeting 
several of his acquaintances and political friends, and laying 
the matter in hand before them, he soon had his bill introduced, 
passed and was on his way home before the people of Mercer 
County knew what had transpired. The Committee of Safety 
was composed of Captain John A. Douglass, Mr. H. W. Straley, 
Major C. D. Straley, Mr. Joseph H. Alvis, Mr. William Oliver 
and this writer. To insure success perfect secrecy was neces- 
sary, and the Committee of Safety made and took a solemn 
pledge that nothing which was said or done touching this mat- 
ter should be divulged by them to anyone; and none were ad- 
mitted to their counsels, except those who gave the pledge to 
each other to keep within their own breasts whatever happened 
or was resolved upon. It soon became known where we held 
our meetings, at one of which, a slight disagreement or mis- 
understanding with our friend Mr. White took place, and he 
withdrew and we were afterwards termed by him the "Town 
Clique." We were not offended at this, however, as it is well 
known that all towns are said to have their "Cliques." At 
our first meeting after Mr. White's return from Wheeling, 
held at our place of general rendezvous, there was a very seri- 

1866-1905 329 

ous difference of opinion between members of the Committee, 
Mr. White was for calling the Board of Supervisors of the 
county together at once and having it order a special election 
on the question of the location of the seat of justice; the otlier 
members of the Committee opposed it, and the vote of the 
majority was the law which governed its actions. Now it 
migiit be well to give some of the open reasons which were 
expressed for not being willing to hold the election under the 
new law and before the general election, w^hich was to take 
place in the following October. First, the special law did not 
authorize a special registration of voters; secondly, we had a 
board of registration and by law it could only revise the regis- 
tration lists at certain stated periods before each regular elec- 
tion; third, if we held the special election under this special 
law with a new registration, and succeeded, the question might 
again get into court, where it had already been for nearly five 
years, and in the end we might be defeated ; fourth, there was 
no reason for haste, as the election could be held before an- 
other Legislature would assemble and have opportunity to re- 
peal the Act, These, as have been stated, were the open rea- 
sons; but bevond these was one which we dare not disclose to 
any but the truest — the trusted and the tried. 

Fully seventy-five per cent, of our people were proscribed and 
disfranchised by the provisions of our Constitution, and obnox- 
ious laws upon our statute books ; and civil and political liberty 
to our people were worth more than Court Houses, especially 
as Court Houses were not free to the proscribed ; for to that 
class there were but four things free, viz: Air, water, pay- 
ment of taxes and death ; therefore the passage of the special 
Act, ostensibly to settle the Court House controversy, meant 
to those in the secret much more than appeared on the surface ; 
it meant the breaking of the bonds of political slavery and de- 
citizenship, under which our people, probably twenty-five thou- 
sand or more in the state, had sufi'ered and groaned for nearly 
five years. It also meant the again clothing of that part of our 
people who had been disfranchised, with the right of citizen- 

330 New River Settlements 

ship and of freemen, and restoring to them that liberty which 
had been torn and wrenched from them by a set of political 
pirates, most of whom were moved only by tlie spirit of revenge, 
but others by more sordid motives. By this proscriptive legis- 
lation honest men and women could not by law collect their 
honest debts, if the debtor had been truly loyal to tlie Union 
during the late unhappy strife. Professional men could not 
practice their profession for a livelihood ; and no man who had 
engaged in the war on the Confederate side, or had sympa- 
thized and given aid and comfort to the Confederates, could sit 
upon a jury or hold office; nor could the poor young woman, 
the daughter of a Confederate soldier, teach school without 
subscribing to the "Test Oath." While these laws were pretty 
rigidly enforced for a period of nearly five years, the time was 
rapidly approaching when they would become a thing of the 
past. As has already been stated, the law provided for the 
appointment by the Governor of a Board of Registration, con- 
sisting of three members, removable at his pleasure. This 
board possessed powers somewhat akin to that exercised by 
the Spanish Inquisition; they had power to send for persons 
and papers — a right to say who should vote and who should 
not — by a mere stroke of the pen (that is, such of them as could 
write), either to place a man's name on the list or strike it off 
at their pleasure, and in this they were protected by law, being 
exempt from civil suits or criminal prosecution for any derelic- 
tion or violation of law connected with the registration of 
voters, or any other outrages they chose to perpetrate touching 
the qualification of electors or the right to vote. 

The men composing tiie County Board of Registration of 
Mercer County for a good part of the period referred to, were 
in most part honest men and desired to do right as far as the 
law allowed them. It was not so much the fault of the men 
who composed the Board in the latter days of the life of the 
law, as it was the law and the District registrars, who were not 
always the cleanest birds that could be found, for it was an 
open secret that any man who would promise to vote the 

1866-1905 331 

Republican ticket, or for any particular candidate, perhaps for 
the registrar himself, could have his name enrolled as a voter 
without taking the oath prescribed by law for all voters, or to 
procure the registration of a voter by deceiving the registrar 
that the party registered would vote for him, when it was 
understood he was to vote for another. 

In this connection it may be mentioned that the court records 
of the county had been kept at Concord Church until the fall 
of 1869, when at a meeting of the Board of Supervisors, Mr. 
Benjamine White, who was then sheriff and lived at Princeton, 
made a motion before the Board to remove the records to 
Princeton for safe keeping, alleging that a threat had been 
made to destroy them, and in support of his charges produced 
the affidavits of one or more persons tending to show the truth 
of his charges. Mr. White's strong and boisterous speech and 
serious charges alarmed two of the members of the Board of 
Supervisors, and they actually gathered their hats and left the 
place, leaving three members only of the Board present, who 
voted for the motion and the records were immediately removed 
by wagons procured by Mr. White. The feverish excitement 
aroused over this removal of the records engendered bad blood, 
and nearly approached open collision. The fact, though not 
apparent to the public, was that the people in the interest of 
Princeton had made a bargain with Mr. George Evans, who, 
for a certain consideration, would aid in removing the records 
and abandon his fight for Concord Church as the County site, 
and espouse the cause of the people in the interest of Princeton ; 
how well this bargain was carried out and the manner of its 
carrying out, will be fully hereinafter stated. 

As hereinbefore stated, the County Board of Registration 
exercised the right of revision of the list of voters, and the right 
to strike off the name of any person they chose, and thus de- 
prive him of the right to vote at the succeeding election; and 
woe to the man that was suspected of disloyalty, not to his 
country, but to the Republican party, for when the County 
Board met and it suspected, or some one reported, that a given 

332 New River Settlements 

man was not loyal in the sense above stated, a summons was 
issued requiring the suspect to appear and prove his loyalty; 
no charges jireferred, none proved, but the party summoned 
must come prepared to prove his innocence — that is, that he 
was truly loyal to the Republican i>arty and had always voted 
and still intended to vote v/ith that party — but if he did not 
show up right on this he was adjudged not a legal or qualified 
voter. Very few instances of this kind occurred in Mercer 
(Jounty, but one such at least occurred in an adjoining county, 
in which a gentleman of the legal profession, being under sus- 
picion of disloyalty, was summoned before the County Board 
of Registration to show and prove that he was true to the grand 
old party ; appearing before the Board, inquiring what it want- 
ed, and being told he must prove his loyalty, he thereupon be- 
came very indignant, using some very rash, opprobrious epi- 
thets toward the Board and some of its members for their base- 
ness, meanness and ignorance. When he had finished his speech, 
one of the members of the Board raised his spectacles upon his 
brow and lifting his eyes said : "Well, sir, I am like the apostle 
of old, I thank God I am what I am," to which the legal gentle- 
man retorted: "Yes, and you are thankful for d — d small 

This registration scheme was wholly political and one against 
liberty ; a plot to disfranchise honest, law-abiding people and 
to perpetuate the dominant party in power in the state, and 
well it succeeded for five years, but they pressed their advan- 
tage too far and the conservative element in their party finally 
revolted, and the plan that had been devised to ostracise their 
neighbors became a useful weapon in the hands of liberty- 
loving freemen for the political overthrow and destruction of 
the inventors, and resulted in hurling from power the party 
which had, as it sup])osed, firmly intrenched itself behind its 
registration disfranchising scheme, which it had theretofore 
regarded as impregnable. This registration law, together with 
the manner of its execution, became so ofi'ensive to the good 
people of the state and smelled so badly, that it was said that 

1866-1905 333 

'^Tlie man in the moon was compelled to hold his nose when he 
passed over'; and by the close of the fourth and fifth years of 
its life, no one scarcely dared to do it reverence, or to publicly 
attempt to justify it. It was doomed and must go, and it was 
only a question of a short time when it would go ; the law itself 
was bad enough, but its abuses were ten fold worse. 

Quite a digression has been made from the consideration of 
the special law passed to settle the County site question, to let 
in the explanation of the operation and effect of this registra- 
tion law; for this very law played an important j^art, not only 
in the settlement of tlie local question, but influenced greatly 
the political results in the county and state at the general elec- 
tion held in October, 1870. 

The Committee of Safety on the part of the Princeton people 
could no longer have Mr. White in its counsels, and was com- 
pelled to go its way alone without the aid of this gentleman 
and his friendly advice. It was finally determined not to have 
a special election under the special statute until the new regis- 
tration could take place in the September following, but the 
plan was to get control of the Registration Board, not only to 
have such board friendlv, but also favorable to a fair non- 
partisan registration, and this was a question of grave consider- 
ation, for the appointing power of this board was the Governor 
and he was an extreme, staunch Republican, who could be de- 
pended upon to appoint men that he at least believed would 
do what his party wanted done. This Committee could have 
no influence with the Governor, and therefore began to cast 
about as to how they might get control of this registration 
board, without raising a suspicion that it was engaged in some 
political intrigue against the Republican party. Mr. George 
Evans was a Republican of the Republicans, and no man could 
question his fealty to his party or his zeal for its success; he 
was a warm personal friend and admirer of the then Governor 
Stevenson, who was a candidate that spring for re-nomination 
and for re-election that fall, and as the Republican convention 

33i New River Settlements 

was to be held in the city of Parkersburg, it was not thought 
likeh' that any delegate except Mr. Evans would go to the con- 
vention and that he would not probably go without it was urged 
upon him and liis expenses paid. 

The Circuit Court for tlie county was to be held at Concord 
Church in May, which was a short time prior to the meeting 
of the Republican convention at Parkersburg. The Safety 
Committee, supposing that the Republicans of the county 
would hold their convention at the Circuit Court in May and 
appoint their delegates to their state convention, a plan was 
hit upon to make known to I\Ir. Evans that it would be a good 
thing for the interest of Princeton, he having in the meantime 
changed his base from the supj)ort of Concord Church to that 
of Princeton, for him to keep in favor with the Governor, and 
to do this it would be well for him to go as the only delegate 
from the county of Mercer, and that if he would undertake to 
manage to hold his county convention during the court and 
have himself appointed a delegate, and to be sure to appoint 
men other than himself, none of whom would go, that the com- 
mittee would undertake to furnish the money to pay his ex- 
penses. The bargain was struck, the court came on, the Repub- 
licans held their meeting and Mr. Evans, among others, was 
api)ointed a delegate to the convention. The committee started 
out to raise the money, and among the men they came across 
and asked to contribute five dollars was Honorable Frank Here- 
ford, Democratic nominee for (Congress; who inquired what 
was wanted with the money, and the answer came, "Never 
mind about that; you will be informed this fall, after the elec- 
tion." Mr. Evans went to the convention ; Governor Stevenson 
was re-nominated, but his election was another question. 

For a number of years the people living in the lower district 
of ]\rercer County, on and along the New River, and tlie people 
of CJreenbrier and Monroe Counties occupying the territory ad- 
jacent to the New River, near the mouth of Greenbrier, favored 
the formation of a new county, and the Committee of Safety 
conceived the idea that this was the favored time to encourage 

1866-1905 335 

the people to ask the Legislature to create the new county and 
to vote for a candidate who would be in favor of the project 
and would push it through the Legislature; and while this 
committee advised the people to secure the right man, it wanted 
to see and know that the man was right, not only on the new 
county question, and therefore on the County site question, but 
that he would pledge himself to use his best endeavors to secure 
the repeal of all proscriptive and obnoxious laws. Arrange- 
ments for a secret meeting were made between the representa- 
tives of Princeton and those in favor of the new county, and 
it was agreed that Sylvester Upton, a staunch Union man, a 
conservative Republican, but in every sense an honorable and 
upright gentleman, should be supported by the combination for 
the House of Delegates, and he was accordingly named as the 
candidate. Against Mr. Upton, the Concord Church people 
nominated or placed in the field Mr. Keaton. In this same com- 
bine Mr. George Evans was to be supported for Clerk and 
Recorder, David Lilley for Sheriff, L. M. Stinson for County 
Surveyor, and J. Speed Thompson for Prosecuting Attorney. 

The support for Mr. George Evans for Clerk and Recorder 
was the consummation of the arrangement entered into at the 
time he abandoned the interest of Concord Church and agreed 
to stand for Princeton ; and this was to be in full settlement 
and discharge of any obligation to him by reason of the previ- 
ous arrangement for his abandonment of the interest of those 
favoring Concord Church. Before all the plans could be fully 
carried out some arrangement had to be made to control the 
Board of Registration; and in some way, if possible, non- 
partisan men, or at least the majority of such must be secured 
on this board, or there would not be the ghost of a chance for 
success. The board at this time consisted of L. M. Thomas, 
Silas T. Reynolds and Mr. Cox. Mr. Reynolds was a high- 
toned gentleman and liberal in his views, and while he would 
faithfully execute the law, he would not pervert it; the two 
others were narrow-minded partisans, and whose chief aim was 
party success. 

336 New River Settlements 

The war had now been over for five years and many young 
men had attained their majority, and they were almost uni- 
versally against the party in power. It was hoped that by the 
aid of these voters and that of tlie liberal, conservative element 
of the Republican party, and with a non-partisan board of 
registration, to be able to overthrow and defeat the radical 
wing of that party; not only carry the county ticket, composed 
in part of liberal Republicans, but to also carry the Court 
House question for Princeton, and the measure in favor of the 
new county. But this dreaded Registration Board, like 
"Banquo's Ghost," would not down; it was concluded, however, 
that dovrn it must go, at all hazards. The committee knowing 
that its friends, Mr. Evans and L. M. Thomas, President of the 
Board, were close friends politically and otherwise, it was 
therefore thought possible for the sake of the local question 
that Mr. Evans could control Thomas, but he tried and failed, 
and the committee was again perplexed. While brooding over 
this apparent ill-luck, with nothing but what seemed a dark 
and dismal future, a little incident happened which opened the 
way of escape from the apparent difficulties. 

Mr. Thomas came to Princeton, and as he was quite fond of 
his drink and Mr. Joe Alvis had a little good liquor to give a 
man for his first drink, after which he always said he would 
then give him the bad and he could not tell the difference — 
furnished Thomas what he required along that line, after which 
he became exceedingly liberal, and took a tilt at what he de- 
nominated the "Cussed Registration Law," saying there was no 
reason to have such laws, and that the time had come for every 
body to register and vote. It is very doubtful whether Thomas 
meant what he said, for it was believed that he meant just the 
reverse, and that his talk was only a ruse to deceive the people 
as to his real intentions, and to cover up some dark thing that 
he had in view to aid the Republican party. Thomas had by 
this declaration in favor of liberalism furnished all the cause 
necessarv for his removal as a member of the Board, for it was 
only necessary for a whisper of this declaration to reach the 

1866-1905 337 

ears of the Governor's best friend to accomplish his removal. 
No sooner had he uttered the declaration, than the Committee 
of Safety had a man getting up aflQdavits embracing Thomas' 
statements ; these were furnished to Mr. Evans, to whom it was 
made known that if Thomas carried out his declaration it 
would destroy the Republican party in Mercer County ; and 
as no one wished to see Mr. Thomas disgraced by being removed 
from office, it was deemed wise that Mr. Evans should pay a 
visit to Mr. Thomas, and show him the aflSdavits and ask him to 
place his resignation in his hands to be sent to the Governor. 
Mr. Evans made the visit and returned with the resignation of 
Mr. Thomas. 

This was in the last days of July, or in the first days of 
August and time was becoming most precious, as the commit- 
tee had determined to ask the Board of Supervisors to order 
a special election under the special Act, upon the question of 
the location of the County site and had planned to have this 
election take place within a period of less than ten days next 
preceding the day on which the state election would be held; 
the object of this being to prevent the Board of Registration 
from striking off the names of voters, who had been registered 
to vote on the local question, and thus allow them to vote at 
the state election; the law forbidding the striking off of the 
names from the registration books within ten days of any 
general election. The Committee being satisfied that there was 
a better showing for a fairer and fuller registration than could 
be had on state election, and it requiring thirty days' notice 
under the special Act before the people could vote on the local 
question, it was determined that this thirty days should expire 
within less than ten days of the state election, and thereby the 
people would have the benefit of the full registration in the 
state election. 

As soon as Thomas' resignation was made known to the com- 
mittee, the question as to who should be his successor arose. 
Various names were suggested, and finally that of Mr. Andrew 
J. Davis, and he was found agreeable to Mr. Evans, because he 

338 New Eiver Settlements 

had always been classed as a Republican, had held office as 
snch, and no one belonging to that party doubted his being a 
Republican, although in fact he was a staunch Democrat. To 
carry out this plan and have Mr. Davis appointed was also a 
matter of delicacy and required secrecy; for the mails could 
not be trusted, none of the committee dare afford to go before 
the Governor on such a matter, it was therefore finally con- 
cluded that Mr. Evans was the only man that could or should 
be trusted with such an important mission. A sufficient fund 
was quietly raised, and Mr. Evans set off for the capitol, and 
succeeded in having Mr. Davis appointed as President of the 
Board of Registration. The secret of the appointment of Mr. 
Davis was so well kept by the committee, Mr. Evans, and the 
people at the Governor's office, that every one was surprised 
when Mr. Davis at the next meeting of the Board took his seat 
as a member thereof. Mr. Davis and Mr. Reynolds, a majority 
of this board, were known as friends of the Princeton interest 
in the local fight. The board appointed its District Registrars 
composed of liberal men ; and the Board of Supervisors met and 
ordered the election on the Court House question, and the 
fight opened with spirit and energy all along the line. 

So far, the plans of the committee had worked well and were 
successful, but in their zeal to succeed they came near commit- 
ting a serious bunder, which if they had, would have defeated 
the settlement of the vexed question. The District Registrars 
seemed to forget that they had any other duty than to get out, 
hunt up, and register all the male citizens of the county over 
the age of twenty-one years. This proceeding at once became 
known, and so loud was it noised abroad that it was heard in 
the gubernatorial office at Charleston, and gave alarm and 
great concern to the Governor and his friends. About the time 
the District Registrars had completed their list of voters, the 
September term of the Circuit Court of Mercer County be- 
gan its session at Concord Church ; the Honorable Joseph M. 
McWhorter, of the Greenbrier Circuit, presiding. There was a 
great throng of people at the court to hear Honorable Frank 

1866-1905 339 

Hereford, Democratic nominee for Congress, make a speech. 
There happened to be also present on the occasion Major Cyrus 
Newlin, a Republican lawyer from Union, who also addressed 
the people on the political issues of the day. Newlin was a 
carpet-bagger of the lower sort and extremely partisan, and 
his abuse of the Democratic party, p.articularly of the Southern 
people, aroused such intense feeling and indignation towards 
him that it became necessary for his friends to take care of 
him, in order to prevent personal violence. The fact is, a crowd 
gathered that night with a rope, prepared to hang him, and 
but for the wise counsel of Colonel William H. French and 
others, who interposed, it would have been accomplished. On 
the Court day on which this public speaking took place, it was 
discovered by the people in the interest of Concord Church, as 
well as the Republicans, that the registration had been indis- 
criminate, and that in returning the books to the County Board, 
the one containing the names of persons registered in Plymouth 
District, the district in which Concord Church is situate, had 
been misplaced, and it was suspected by the Concord people 
that there was some trickery about it ; and they became aroused 
to such a pitch of feeling and excitement as to forget every- 
thing else except the local question, which not only absorbed 
their whole attention and interest, but some of them were 
willing to sacrifice their political interests and put in jeopardy 
the chances of shaking off their civil and political shackles; 
and therefore, in order to wreak vengeance on those opposing 
them on the local question, they imparted to Major Newlin 
what they supposed to be the plan for registering every person, 
with the view to the overthrow of the Republican party. 

No sooner had Major Newlin caught on to the supposed 
scheme than he wrote a letter to the Governor, containing the 
startling news, that eleven hundred rebels had been registered 
in Mercer County, all of whom would vote the Democratic 
ticket; and strange, yet true, it seems that this letter received 
the approval and endorsement of Judge McWhorter. When 
this letter reached Charleston it, of course, very naturally, 

340 New River Settlements 

aroused the fears of the Governor and his Republican friends 
for the safety of the party ; and in order to ascertain more fully 
the situation tlie Governor dispatched one A. F, Gibbons, armed 
with blank commissions to be filled if he, Gibbons, thought 
proper to do so, with the names of a new Board of Registra- 
tion. This letter had gone and was in the hands of the Gov- 
ernor before the committee discovered that the same had been 
written, and by this time it was too late to counteract the effect 
thereof at the capitol ; in fact, Mr. Gibbons had arrived in the 
county before anyone was aware that he had been sent, or what 
steps the Governor proposed to take. The committee was con- 
fronted by a new, formidable and serious danger; hitherto it 
had been equal to every emergency as it had arisen, but the 
question now was, would it be equal to this? Up to this time 
every movement of the committee's adversaries had been met 
and thwarted ; being always on the alert, and through informa- 
tion derived from its spies it was kept well advised, and before 
the blow was struck a counter one was given, and the arm of 
the adversary fell palsied at his side. 

The reader must not suppose that these things were idle 
dreams — they were stern realities — actual occurrences; and no 
question more certainly and effectually divided our people than 
did this local question. The war between the states had not 
more thoroughly estranged the people of the North and South, 
than this question had the people of the two sections of our 
county. Military lines were never better connected and more 
securely guarded and watched with greater vigilance, than 
were the lines between these contending factions; and both 
money and brains were at work on both sides, and the struggle 
tliroughout resembled that of two great armies on the battle- 
field maneuvering for positions and preparing to join in deadly 

Mr. Gibbons had scarcely more than reached Concord Church, 
than the information thereof was brought to the Committee 
of Safety. A meeting was called and the situation discussed 
and the conclusion reached to watch Gibbon's actions and 

1866-1905 341 

await developments, which would doubtless show up in a few 
hours; and the committee was not mistaken in its conclusion, 
for Mr. Gibbons by some word or action had given otfense to 
the Concord people, and he left there in high dudgeon and came 
to Princeton. Now was the time for action, and the committee 
determined that Mr. Gibbons must be met with open arms and 
be fully assured that Governor Stevenson's interests should not 
suffer in the hands of the people who were espousing the cause 
of Princeton on the local question. To this end large numbersf 
of the people visited Mr. Gibbons, and assured him of their 
strong friendship for Governor Stevenson, and of their inten- 
tion to vote for the Governor if the registration books were not 
blotched by erasure, and that the Governor had all to gain and 
nothing to lose by allowing the names then on the books to 
remain untouched. Mr. Gibbons heard these assurances with 
seeming delight and satisfaction, and his faith in the truth of 
these statements was strengthened from day to day by the 
action of and conversations had with our people ; at length the 
adversaries of Princeton, seeing that its people had probably 
won Gibbons over to its side, and that he was a little too cred- 
ulous, whispered in his ear that he was being deceived, that the 
names of too many prominent ex-Confederates were on the 
registration list for tlie strong professions of these people to be 
true ; so Mr. Gibbons became a little wary and somewhat alarm- 
ed, stating that he thought the names of the more prominent 
ex-Confederates should be erased from the lists. The commit- 
tee was reluctantly forced to yield and compromise by the elim- 
ination of about two hundred names from the list of voters; 
yet enough remained to accomplish their purposes, for they 
knew that while the people had pledged themselves to stand 
by and vote for Governor Stevenson the}' had made no further 
pledges and Mr. Gibbons had not asked or demanded more. 

The opponents of Princeton were not without resources, and 
while these events were transpiring at Princeton they were not 
idle; for they formulated a plan which they supposed would 
prevent the people from holding the special election on the 

342 New River Settlements 

local question; and that plan was to get an injunction, pro- 
hibiting and enjoining the election officers from opening the 
polls, holding the election and declaring the result; and with 
this view, a bill was prepared by Attorney Newlin and en- 
trusted to Attorney J. M. Killey to be taken to Charleston by 
him and to be presented to a Circuit Judge for an injunction, 
and if refused, then to be presented to Judge James H. Brown 
of the Court of Appeals. Mr. Killey had scarcely gotten away 
from Concord Church before the news of his leaving and that 
of his mission reached the Committee ; whereupon it determined 
that this last effort of the removalists must be headed off and 
defeated. It was now only ten days until the election was to 
be held on the local question. Mr. Kille^' started on Wednes- 
day, and a messenger was selected and directed to follow Kil- 
ley, and he started on Thursday morning ; however, before start- 
ing, Mr. Gibbons requested a little time to write some letters 
to be sent to the Governor and other friends in Charleston by 
the Princeton messenger, who took the letters and put off to 
Charleston, reaching there in less than two days, being only 
twenty-three and one-half hours in the saddle, and reaching 
there two hours ahead of Killey, although the latter had twenty- 
four hours the start and had traveled twelve miles of the dis- 
tance by steamer. Hurrying to the Governor's office, the 
Princeton messenger found no one there but Mr. Blackburn 
B. Dovener, now the Honorable Blackburn B. Dovener, 
member of Congress from the \yheeling district, private secre- 
tary to the Governor, to whom the letters of which he was the 
bearer were delivered, the Governor being absent in the north- 
ern part of the state, leaving Mr. Dovener in charge of his 

The messenger made known to Mr. Dovener that it was 
necessary that he should see Judge Brown, and requested him 
to accompany and introduce him to the Judge, which he did. 
After stating to the Judge his mission and the character of the 
bill which would likely be presented to him for action, the 
Judge promised the messenger that if such bill was presented 

1866-1905 343 

that he should have opportunity to be heard. Mr, Killey pre- 
sented his bill to Circuit Judge Hoge, at Winfleld, who refused 
the injunction, and on Mr. Killey's return to Charleston, and 
on presentation of his bill to Judge Brown the injunction was 
also refused by him. The Princeton messenger at once started 
for home, reaching there on the Thursday evening preceding 
the Saturday on which the election was to be held ; and which 
passed off quietly, a full vote was polled, and the County Court 
House question was settled in favor of Princeton by a majority 
of over four hundred. The state election followed on the Tues- 
day week thereafter, and resulted in the election of the whole 
Democratic county ticket by an average majority of about 
three hundred, and a majority of nearly five hundred for Mr. 
Hereford for Congress; electing Mr. Upton to the House of 
Delegates; and George Evans Clerk and Recorder over Mr. 
Green Meador — this was in fulfillment of the agreement of the 
Princeton interest with Mr. Evans. The county authorities im- 
mediately went to work and had erected on the old Court House 
foundation at Princeton a new building which was completed in 
1875. This building was destroyed by fire, but another building 
was erected immediately thereafter. 

Mr. Upton, the Representative from Mercer County, on the 
assembling of the Legislature in January, 1871, immediately 
introduced his bill for the creation of a new county out of the 
territory hereinafter described ; and on the 27th day of Febru- 
ary, 1871, the bill was passed creating the county of Summers 
out of parts of the counties of Mercer, Monroe, Greenbrier and 
Fayette, within the following described boundary, to- wit : 

''Beginning at the mouth of Round Bottom Branch, on New 
River, in Monroe County, thence crossing said river and run- 
ning N. 471/2 W. 5430 poles through the county of Mercer to a 
point known as Brammer's Gate, on the line dividing the coun- 
ties of Mercer and Raleigh ; thence with said county line in an 
easterly direction to New River ; thence with a line between the 
counties of Raleigh and Greenbrier, down New River to the 
line of Fayette County; thence with a line dividing Raleigh 

344 New River Settlements 

and Fayette Counties, down said river to a station opposite 
Goddard's House; thence leaving the line of Raleigh County, 
crossing New River and passing through said Goddard's house, 
N. 071/0 E. 3280 poles through said county of Fayette, to a 
station on Wallow Hole Mountain, in Greenbrier County; 
thence S. 55 E, 3140 poles to a station east of Keeney's Knob 
in Monroe County ; thence S. 9 E. 1320 poles to a station near 
Greenbrier River, and running thence S. 32 W. 7740 poles to 
the beginning." 

The period between the close of the civil war and the settle- 
ment of the question of the location of the seat of justice of 
Mercer County, and the complete removal of all civil and polit- 
ical disabilities, under which our people had been laboring for 
a period of nearly seven years, was one of turmoil, trouble and 
unrest. Business in Mercer County during this time was large- 
ly at a standstill, no one knew what to do, many suits had been 
brought against the ex-Confederates for alleged wrongs and 
injuries done or committed during the civil war, and they, the 
ex-Conferedates, had little show in the courts, which had been 
organized, as a rule, in the interest of the dominant party and 
for oppression. The men who sat upon the juries of the county 
were the political enemies of the ex-Confederates and of the 
people who had espoused the Southern cause. No man who had 
served in the Confederate army or sympathized with the Soutli, 
regarded his life, liberty, property or cause, whatever it might 
be, as safe in the hands of the Courts and Juries as they were 
tlien organized and existed. Hundreds of people who had 
owned valuable property before the beginning of the war and 
lived in opulence, were by its results reduced almost to beg- 
gary, and they had a long, hard struggle to earn even a liveli- 
hood. The expenses of government — the taxes — had grown 
to such enormous proportions that the people had great diflB- 
culty in paying the same. The levies of taxes for local purposes 
were often outrageous, on account of the character and 
amounts of the claims and demands for which they were levied ; 

1866-1905 345 

and after the levies had been placed in the hands of the collect- 
ing officers they were often squandered and never accounted 
for. In the great struggle over the Court House question, a 
large amount of the public funds were squandered, stolen or 
wasted. A jail had been erected at Concord Church and the 
walls for a Court House had been about half way built, and 
the expenditures in this regard amounted to thousands of dol- 
lars, which was an entire loss to the taxpayers of the county. 
But, notwithstanding all these drawbacks, the people labored, 
toiled and struggled on in the hope of a better day coming, and 
it came at last when we had better government and lower taxes, 
and the end largely of all the difficulties growing out of the 
civil war and the questions therein involved. 

The Board of Supervisors had power to lay and disburse the 
county levies, and to make all contracts touching county affairs. 
After the removal of the records and books from Concord 
Church to Princeton, the Board of Supervisors consisted of 
L. D. Martin, William C. Honaker, Silas T. Reynolds, Thomas 
Reed, and, for part of the time, Washington Lilley. 

Mention has already been made of Mr. George Evans, who 
was of Welsh extraction or descent, and who came from Wilkes- 
barre, Pennsylvania. He was a man of fair education, good 
sense, and, although often roundly abused, was yet a very clever 
man, but in the days in which he ruled was a power among the 
Republicans, and ruled them generally with a rod of iron. 
He held as many as four or five offices at one and the same 
time, and did pretty generally as he pleased touching the con- 
trol and management of county affairs, civil and political. 

After the Board of Supervisors had adjourned its meetings 
from Concord Church to Princeton, a proposition was made to 
it by Mr. Evans to sell to the county a small farm which he 
owned in the valley of East River Mountain as a place on which 
to keep the paupers of the county. Mr. Evans was, in his 
political manipulation, always shrewd enough to control one 
man on each of the Board of Supervisors and Registration; 

346 New River Settlements 

this man was always a friend of Mr. Evans' — his middle man 
or fifth wlieel — and by and through wliom he was generally able 
to carry out any measure he desired, or that he knew was to 
his interest or that of his party. The Board of Supervisors 
was generally divided politically^ two Democrats and three 
Re])nblicans, but ]Mr. Evans could not always rely upon his 
political friends to save his pet measures, but when necessary, 
he was sometimes compelled to call on the other side, and with 
the aid of his man carry his point. Mr. Evans' proposition to 
sell his farm to the county met with disfavor, not only from 
the two members who were in the Princeton interest, but espe- 
cially from the two men who were friends of the Concord inter- 
est, the two latter being exceedingly hostile to Mr. Evans on 
account of his desertion of their interests in the Court House 
controversy and his espousal of the interest of Princeton; 
therefore, when his j)roposition was submitted to the Board, 
not only the two men from the Concord section voted against 
it, but also the two men from the Princeton section, leaving 
only Mr. Thomas Reed, the friend of Mr. Evans, to vote for his 
proposition. No sooner was the measure defeated than Mr. 
Reed made a motion that the Board adjourn to meet at Concord 
Church on the next day, and his motion was promptly carried 
by his own and the votes of the two Concord men, who were 
highly elated at the prospects of the Board again holding its 
sessions at Concord Church, which would probably result in 
taking the records to that place, and that the Courts would 
again be held there. Mr. Reed, with the two men that had voted 
with him, mounted their horses and took tlie road toward 
Concord (church, stopping, however, over night with Colonel 
William IT. French, by whom they were very highly entertained 
and cared for, and who was greatly delighted with their ac- 
tion in .adjourning the meeting of the Board to the place above 
named. The Board met the next morning at Concord Church 
with the two members from the Princeton section absent. Mr. 
Evans' proposition was again submitted and unanimously car- 
ried, but before the Board adjourned the two members from 

1866-1905 347 

the Princeton section ai^rived, and thereupon Mr. Reed moved 
that the Board adjourn to meet at Princeton ; the two members 
from Concord voting in the negative, but Mr, Reed voting with 
the Princeton men, the motion was carried. This incident is re- 
lated here to show that this Court House controversy entered 
into every public and private transaction of whatever char- 

The Legislature at its session of 1870 repealed the "Suitors 
Test Oath," and amended the oath of teachers and attorneys, 
and at the same session proposed an amendment to the Consti- 
tution commonly known and designated as the "Flick Amend- 
ment," which provided that: "The male citizens of the state 
shall be entitled to vote at all elections held within the election 
district in which they respectively reside; but no person who 
is a minor, or of unsound mind, or a pauper, or who has been 
convicted of treason, felony, or bribery in any election, or who 
has not been a resident of the state for one year, and of the 
county in which he offers to vote for thirty days next preced- 
ing his offer, shall be permitted to vote while such disability 
continued." It will be seen that this amendment was intended, 
and in fact did, recitizenize and reenfranchise those who had 
been decitizenized and disfranchised by the amendment to the 
Constitution of May 24, 1866. The session of 1871 adopted 
the amendment, and provided by law for its submission to the 
people, and it was adopted by a large majority, on the fourth 
Thursday in April, 1871. This, however, did not satisfy the 
people of West Virginia, for they had determined to remodel 
the Constitution, or, rather, have a new one; and on the 23rd 
day of February, 1871, an Act was passed to take the sense of 
the people upon the call of a convention and for organizing the 
same, and providing for an election on that question to be held 
throughout the state on the fourth Thursday of August, 1871, 
and which election resulted in a majority of votes being cast 
for the call. The same Act provided that in the event of a ma- 
jority of the vote being cast in favor of the convention, that the 
Governor should make proclamation accordingly, and on the 

348 New Kiver Settlements 

fourth Thursday of October, 1871, that delegates to the said 
convention should be elected. There were to be elected two 
delegates from each senatorial district and one from each 
county and delegate district. From the Mercer County sena- 
torial district. Honorable Evermont Ward, of Cabell County, 
and Doctor Isaiah Bee, of Mercer County, were chosen over 
Honorable Mitchell Cook, of Wyoming County, and Mr. 
Harvev Scott, of Cabell County; and from the county 
of Mercer Elder James Calfee, a minister of the church 
of the Disciples, was chosen over Colonel William H. French. 
The members elected to this convention assembled at Charles- 
ton on the third Tuesday of January, 1872, and elected Hon- 
orable Samuel Price, of Greenbrier County, President. The 
convention sat from the 16th day of January to the 9th day of 
the following April, and having finished its work, adopted a 
schedule submitting the Constitution framed by it to the peo- 
ple to be voted on, on the fourth Thursday of August, 1872, 
and the same was ratified by the people by a majority of over 

At the August election, 1872, Captain William L. Bridges, a 
Democrat, was elected to the House of Delegates from Mercer 
County, over Jno. H. Peck; and a full set of Democratic county 
officers were also elected, but Mr. George Evans, a candidate 
for re-election for Clerk of the Courts received but thirty votes ; 
and this was his last appearance in the arena of politics in 
Mercer County. Honorable Evermont Ward was elected Cir- 
cuit Judge, over 0. W. Smith, Ira J. McGinnis, Henry L. Gilles- 
pie, and I. S. Samuel ; David E. Johnston was elected prosecut- 
ing attorney, over R. C. McClaugherty, J. Speed Thompson, and 
Alonzo Gooch; R. B. Foley was elected Clerk of the Circuit 
Court, over E. H. Peck and J. C. Straley; Beujamine G. Mc- 
Nutt was elected Clerk of the County Court, over John H. 

The people who had espoused the cause of Princeton in the 
Court House controversy were anxious to remove, as far as 
possible, the chagrin and disappointment of the people who had 

1866-1905 349 

striven to have the County site located at Concord Church; 
they induced Captain Bridges to introduce and have passed a 
Bill establishing a branch of the State Normal School at Con- 
cord Church (now Athens), and which is today a most flourish- 
ing institution of learning, and of which Captain James H. 
French was the principal for nearly twenty years. 

The political shackles that had been forged by the extreme 
Eepublicans — radicals — and placed upon the ex-Confederates 
and tightly held for more than five years, had been snapped 
asunder and cast away, and the Confederate people with the 
Union Democrats took charge of the ship of state and guided 
her course safely for more than a quarter of a century, and 
only lost control when the state became flooded with criminal 
negroes. For a full twenty-five years or more the conservative 
Democratic people governed the state, during which time there 
was made more rapid material development than in any other 
period of her existence, before or since. (1) The whole policy 
of the state, and her wise laws and administration thereof, 
during the years referred to, were dictated and controlled 
largely by the old Confederate soldiers. It was through this 
influence that the Constitution of 1872 was framed and adopt- 
ed, and into which was incorporated the provision that no per- 
son on either side of the war should be held ,civilly or crimin- 
ally, liable for acts done according to the usages of civilized 

In the year of 1750, Doctor Thomas Walker and his party, 
on his return from his second visit to the Cumberland Gap and 
Kentucky section of country, passed by the site of what is now 
the city of Pocahontas, Virginia, discovering the outcrop of 
the great coal beds of the Flat Top region ; consisting of some 
thirteen measures of coal, one of which is known as the Poca- 

(1). George W. Anderson began, about 1876, the publication of the 
Princeton Journal, the first newspaper published in Mercer County. 

350 New River Settlements 

honlas or Xo. 3, and which is over ten feet thick. The next 
we hear about this coal field is in the report of Prof. Rogers, 
State Geologist of Virginia, who visited this section between 
the years of 183G and 1840, and made an extensive examina- 
tion and a report of this coal formation; however, this report 
seems to have excited no particular attention. General Gabriel 
C Wharton of Montgomery County, Virginia, who commanded 
during the late civil war a body of Confederate troops and 
marched at their head across the Flat Top Mountain, observed 
this coal formation, and was impressed with its commercial 
value. He having been elected, in 1871, to the Legislature of 
Virginia from the County of Montgomery, obtained on the 7th 
of March, 1872, a charter for the incorporation of "The New 
River Railroad, Mining and Manufacturing Company," with 
John B. Radford, John T. Cowan, James Cloyd, James A. 
Walker, William T. Yancey, William Mahone, Charles W. 
Stratham, Joseph H. Chumley, A. H. Flanagan, Philip W. 
Strother, John C. Snidow, Joseph H. Hoge, William Eggleston, 
G. C. Wharton, William Adair, James A. Harvey, A. A. Chap- 
man, Robert W. Hughes, A. ISf. Johnston, Elbert Fowler, David 
E. Johnston, John A. Douglass, William H. French, R. B. Mc- 
Nutt, James M. Bailey and A. Gooch, as incorporators. This 
charter was a very liberal one and gave to the company upon 
its organization the right and power to construct, maintain 
and operate a railroad from New River Depot in Pulaski 
County, Virginia, on the line of the Atlantic, Mississippi, and 
Ohio Railroad, to such a point as might be agreed upon at or 
near the head of Camp Creek in the County of Mercer and 
State of West Virginia, with ample provision for the building 
of branch roads in Mercer and other counties; the capital 
stock not to exceed |2,000,000.00. The first meeting of the 
incorporators was held at Pearisburg, and Dr. John B. Rad- 
ford was elected President and Elbert Fowler Secretary, Vari- 
ous committees were appointed, among them Captain Richard 
B, Roane, who was authorized and directed to visit the coal 
fields and to secure grants and subscriptions in lands or money. 

1866-1905 351 

In part at least, through Captain Roane, Colonel Thomas (jra- 
ham, of Philadelphia, became interested in the scheme, and 
finally with some of his friends succeeded in getting control of 
a majority of the stock of said company, and immediately went 
to work to secure all the coal land in what is now known as 
the Pocahontas region, and to push the building of the rail- 
road into that field. 

In 1875 experimental lines were run from New River Depot 
down the New River to Hinton on the Chesapeake & Ohio 
road. Shortly' thereafter Colonel Graham succeeded in secur- 
ing the Virginia State convicts and placed them on the line 
and commenced the construction of a narrow gauge railroad. 
In the year of 1881 Mr. F. J. Kimball, President of Norfolk & 
Western Railroad Company, met with Major Jed Hotchkiss, of 
Staunton, Virginia, and in a conversation insisted that his 
road must have coal. Major Hotchkiss pointed out to Mr. 
Kimball the Flat Top Field and its accessibility to his road and 
the wonderful value of the coal, which led Mr. Kimball to 
join Hotchkiss in a visit to the section. The coal and mineral 
leases and contracts taken by Captain Roane, together with 
those subsequently taken by John Graham, Jr., and Dr. James 
O'Keiffee were in the names of J. D. Sergeant and others, or 
rather for their benefit. 

Some time prior to February, 1881, the mortgage on the 
Atlantic, Mississippi & Ohio Railroad had been foreclosed, and 
the road purchased by a Philadelphia syndicate, who changed 
the name to Norfolk & Western Railroad Company, which very 
shortly thereafter became the owner of the New River Rail- 
road, Mining and Manufacturing Company's charter, and on 
the 3rd day of August, 1881, the Norfolk & Western Railroad 
Company commenced the construction of its New River Branch. 
In the meantime a charter had been obtained from the state of 
West Virginia incorporating the New River Railroad in West 
Virginia, and also a charter for the East River Railroad, in 
West Virginia. 

On the 0th day of May, 1882, the New River Railroad Com- 

352 New River Settlements 

pany of Virginia, the New River Railroad Company of West 
Virginia, and the East River Railroad Company were merged 
and consolidated. The work on this line of road was rapidly 
pushed, so that on the 21st day of May, 1883, the same was com- 
pleted to Pocahontas, Virginia, the terminal point, and the 
first shipments of coal were made in the June following. The 
Messrs. Graham, Sergeant and others, in the meantime, had 
secured by option and purchase and had gotten together some 
50,000 acres of valuable coal properties in the Pocahontas field. 
For ten years or more prior to 1882, Messrs. H. W. Straley, 
C. D. Straley, John A. Douglass, James D. Johnston, and this 
writer, had been securing coal properties along the north side 
of the Bluestone River in the Flat Top region, and from the 
Virginia and West Virginia state line eastward, had gotten 
control of some 20,000 acres. In the year of 1881, these lands 
of Straley and others were, through Echols, Bell and Catlett, 
of Staunton, Virginia, and Honorable Frank Hereford, of 
Union, optioned to Samuel Coit of Hartford, Connecticut; 
which options were finally taken by George M. Bartholomew 
and Samuel Coit, the land was surveyed, paid for and conveyed 
to said Bartholomew and David E. Johnston, trustees, and sub- 
sequently sold to E. W. Clark, of Philadelphia, and his asso- 
ciates, for 1105,000.00. The name given to the company by the 
parties who held these lands prior to the sale to Mr. Clark, was 
first, Bluestone-Flat Top Coal Company, and afterwards Flat 
Top Coal Company, but subsequently Mr. Clark and his associ- 
ates organized several joint stock companies, dividing up these 
lands and conveying portions thereof to each of said companies. 
Among the companies organized, were Bluestone Coal Com- 
pany, Crane Creek Coal Company, Indian Ridge Coal Com- 
pany, Widemouth Coal Company, Flat Top Coal Company, 
and Rich Creek Coal Company, While these companies were 
being organized, Mr. Clark and his associates, together with 
some other persons, organized the Trans-Flat Top Land Asso- 
ciation, for the purpose of acquiring coal lands north and west 
of the Flat Top Mountain, which association acquired a large 

1866-1905 353 

territory of lands in the Counties of McDowell, Wyoming, 
Raleigh, Boone and Logan, including the Maitland survey, 
called 500,000 acres, the Dillon survey of 50,000 acres, and a 
large number of small tracts within theee surve^ys held under 
junior grants. The holdings of the several joint stock com- 
panies above named, together with those of the Trans-Flat Top 
Association, aggregated 232,483 acres. On the first day of 
April, 1887, the Flat Top Coal Land Trust, which afterwards 
changed itiJ name to Flat Top Coal Land Association, was 
organized by Edward W. Clark, Sidney F. Tyler, Everett Gray, 
Robert B. Minturn, Henderson M. Bell, Edward Denniston 
and Mahlon Sands, the objects and purposes of which were the 
purchase and acquisition of mineral and other lands and inter- 
ests in real estate in the states of Virginia, West Virginia, and 
North Carolina, and for the development, improvement and 
sale of the same, and the leasing thereof for the purpose of 
cutting and the carrying away of the timber, of coal mining for 
coal and coking purposes, for the purpose of mining iron ore, 
and the manufacturing of iron, or for any other purposes. The 
capital of the association was to consist of |40,000.00, with the 
right to increase the same to |10,000,000.00, and the stock to 
be divided into two classes, preferred and common shares, of 
equal amounts. These articles of association constituted E. 
W. Clark, S. F. Tyler, and H. M. Bell trustees, to whom was 
conveyed all of the aforesaid lands. 

Mr, Samuel A. Crozer of Upland, Pennsylvania, entered early 
into this coal field on the Elkhorn Creek, and purchased a body 
of several thousand acres, which he immediately proceeded to 
open up and develop. The major part of his holdings lie largely 
on and along the Ohio extension of the Norfolk & Western 
Railroad. These lands held by Clark, Tyler and Bell have been 
recently sold and conveyed to The Pocahontas Coal & Coke 

It has already been stated that the first coal shipped from 
this field was in June, 1883, and, as shown by the statistics, the 
whole output of coal for the first year, 1883, was 55,522 tons, 

354 New River Settlements 

and of coke 23,762 tons. A large number of collieries have 
been opened and are in operation in Mercer County, and there 
are a number of others opening up in the Widemouth Valley. 
The following are among the collieries in the County of Mercer, 
viz : 

Mill Creek Coal & Coke Co. Caswell Creek Coal & Coke Co. 

Booth-Bowen Coal & Coke Co. Buckeye Coal & Coke Co. 

Goodwill Coal & Coke Co. Louisville Coal & Coke Co. 

Coaldale Coal & Coke Co. Klondike Coal & Coke Co. 

The total output from these coal mines for the year of 1904 
was 1,274,070 tons of coal, and of coke 190,132 tons. 

These coal operations are carried on in the northeast portion 
of Tazewell County, Virginia, the northwest portion of Mercer, 
and largely over the southern portion of McDowell County. 

When the railroad entered this region in May, 1883, there 
were no cities, towns or villages. There are now in this field 
and in the immediate vicinity, the city of Bluefleld, in Mercer 
County, with a population of nearly 11,000; the city of Poca- 
hontas, in Tazewell County, with a population of about 5,000, 
and the towns of Graham, Coopers, Bramwell, Ada and Oak- 
vale. From the wildest, most rugged and romantic country 
to be found in the mountains of Virginia, or West Virginia, 
this has become the most rushing and thriving business center, 
with a population of perhaps 50,000, whereas, before the com- 
ing of the railroad and the developments referred to, the popu- 
lation was comparatively small. Many little thriving villages 
and towns have sprung up in different portions of the county, 
mostly, however, along the lines of railroad, and in the mining 
district. Athens, formerly Concord Church, a few years ago but 
a very small village, is now quite a thriving town; and Prince- 
ton, the county town, is now putting on city airs on account 
of the prospective building of the Deepwater Railroad. 

The people of the county are generally prosperous farmers, 
and have within the past few years greatly improved their 
farms, erected a better class of dwelling houses, and there has 

1866-1905 855 

been a general advance and improvement along the whole line. 
The city of Bluefleld has had a marvelous growth. In 1888 it 
was a mere flag station on the farm of John B. Higginbotham ; 
incorporated as a town in December, 1889, with Judge Joseph 
M. Sanders as its first Mayor. The city has four banks, viz: 
First National, Flat Top National, Commercial, and State 
Bank, with an aggregate capital of over |250,000.00, with a line 
of deposits of over |1,000,000.00 ; four hotels; four wholesale 
grocery houses, water works, electric light plant, electric rail- 
way line. It has two Methodist churches (white), two Metho- 
dist churches (colored), two Baptist churches (white) and 
two colored Baptist churches, one church of the Disciples, one 
Lutheran, one Presbyterian and one Catholic. It also has a 
large high school building, costing about $20,000.00, accommo- 
dating nearly 800 school children; a large Institute for the 
colored people, which was built on state account, and is sup- 
ported by state appropriations ; and also a large opera house. 

The city is built on the watershed between the head branch 
of East River and the waters of the Bluestone, in the extreme 
southwestern portion of Mercer County, and is about 2557 
feet above tide, in a high and healthful location, and bids fair 
in a few years to have a population of more than double what 
it has at present. Mercer County has, including the railroad 
yard at Bluefleld, about 195.03 miles of trackage in the county, 
of which 74.3 miles are within the city of Bluefleld. 

The taxable values in the county for the year of 1880 were 
1676,009.00 and in the year of 1905 $4,103,563.00. 




Deeming it of interest to the reader, a brief history of the 
organization of Courts of Justice for the states of Virginia 
and West Virginia, taken from the statutes and codes of said 
states is here inserted. (See Compilation in Code 1849.) 

An Act was passed in Virginia, in 1784, for the establishment 
of courts of Assize (Hen-State Vol. II, p. 422), but it never 
went into operation ; it was first suspended, and then repealed 
(Id. Vol. 12, pp. 45, 267, 497). It was succeeded by the Act 
establishing District Courts of law (Id. p. 532, Ch. 39, p. 644, 
Ch. 1, p. 730, Ch. 67). These District Courts, after being in 
operation about twenty years, were abolished in 1809, under 
the Acts establishing a Superior Court of law in each county 
(1807-8, p. 5, Ch. 3; p. 10, Ch. 14; 1809, p. 9, Ch. 6). The sev- 
eral acts concerning Superior Courts of law were reduced into 
one by the Act of 1819 (1st Rev. Code, p. 227, Ch. 69). In 
1777 an Act passed establishing a high court of Chancery for 
the state (Hen-Stat, Vol. 9, p! 389, Ch. 15). When first estab- 
lished it consisted of three judges, but the number was reduced 
to one by the Act of 1788 (Id. Vol. 12, p. 767) . The jurisdiction 
of this court extended over the whole state until 1802, when the 
state was divided into three districts, and a Superior Court of 
Chancery established for each district (1801-2, p. 12, Ch. 14). 
The places of holding these courts were Richmond, Williams- 
burg and Staunton. In 1812 the Staunton district was divided 
into four districts ; the judge, previously assigned to the Staun- 
ton district was to hold courts for these, to-wit : At Staunton 

358 New River Settlements 

and Wythe Court House, and a new judge was to hold court 
for the two others, to-wit: at Winchester and Chirksburg 
(1811-12, p. 19, Ch. 15). In 1814 the Richmond and Williams- 
burg districts were divided into four districts; the judge previ- 
ously assigned to the Richmond district was to hold courts for 
two of these, to-wit : at Richmond and Lynchburg, and the 
judge previously assigned to the Williamsburg district was to 
hold court for the other two, to-wit: at Williamsburg and 
Fredericksburg (1813-14, p. 44, Ch. 16). Under a subsequent 
Act of the same year, the judge of the Staunton and Wythe 
district was, for certain counties, to hold a court at Green- 
brier Court House (1813-14, p. 81, Ch. 33). The Acts concern- 
ing the Superior Court of Chancery were reduced into one by 
the Act of 1818 (1st Rev. Code, p. 196, Ch. 66). The Superior 
Courts of law held by fifteen judges, and the Superior Courts 
of Chancery held by four judges, were abolished by the Act of 
the 16th day of April, 1831, which divided the state into 20 
circuits, held by that number of judges, and established a 
Circuit Superior Court of Law and Chancery for each county 
and in certain corporations (1830-1, p. 42, Ch. 11). Thus it 
will be seen that it was about thirty-five years from the date 
of the establishment of courts of Chancery in Virginia before 
one of such courts were authorized to be held west of the Alle- 
ghanies; therefore our people, having occasion to resort to a 
Court of Conscience to have their grievances settled, had to 
travel many miles towards the rising sun to find a law doctor, 
authorized to administer relief. "As stated, the itinerant Cir- 
cuit Court system was not adopted until April, 1831, before 
that time the courts were held by the judges of the District and 
General court, who by allotment were assigned to tlie various 
districts as they then existed. 

The following judges of the districts and General courts and 
of the Circuit courts held terms of court in the territory now 
embraced in the counties of Montgomery, Giles, Tazewell, 
Monroe, and Mercer from 1809 to the present : 

Courts and Court Officers. 359 

judges op the general court. 
Hon. John Coalter. Hon. Allen Taylor. 

Hon. Paul Carington. Hon, Peter Johnston. 

Hon. Archibald Stewart. Hon. James Allen. 

Hon. William Brockenborough.Hon. John J. Allen. 


Benjamine Estill. John J. Allen. 

Edward Johnston. James E. Brown. 

George W. Hopkins. Andrew S. Fulton. 

Samuel G. Fulkerson. John A. Campbell. 

John W. Johnston. Edward B. Bailey. 

Eobert M. Hudson. Tipton. 

Alexander Mahood. Evermont Ward. 

John H. Fulton. Randall M. Brown. 

D. W. Bolen. Samuel W. Williams. 

R. C. Jackson. Henry E. Blair. 
W. J. Henson. 


George Wythe. Creed Taylor. 

William Wirt. Henry St George Tucker. 


P. W. Strother. George W. Easley. 

A. N. Heiflin. Martin W^illiams. 

Bernard Mason. 


James P. Kelley. Sterling F. Watts. 

Samuel C. Graham. S. M. B. Couling. 

J. H. Stuart. 

The following are the names of the Circuit judges who have 
presided over the Circuit Court of Mercer County since its 
organization, viz: 

Honorable James E. Brown, Wytheville, Virginia. 
Honorable Edward B. Bailey, Fayetteville, Virginia. 


New River Settlements 

Honorable Evermont Ward, Logan, Virginia and West Va. 
Honorable Nathanial Harrison, Union, West Virginin 
Honorable Henry L. Gillaspie, Beckley, West Virginia. 
Honorable David E. Johnston, I'rinceton, West Virginia. 
Honorable Robert C. McClaugherty, Princeton, West Va. 
Honorable Joseph M. Sanders, Bkiefleld, West Virginia. 
Honorable Luther L. Chambers, Welch, West Virginia. 

The following is a list of the names of the justices of the 
peace for the counties of Fincastle and Montgomery, serving 
on the courts of these counties from 1773 to 1805 : 

John Kent. 

Arthur Campbell. 
Daniel Trigg. 
John Henderson. 
Adam Dean. 
Joseph Gray. 
William Christian 
Andrew Lewis. 
Daniel Howe. 
James Charlton. 
James McGavock. 
James Thompson. 
Andrew Boyd. 
James Byrn. 
John Preston. 
James Craig. 
James McCorkle. 
Christian Snidow. 
William Ward. 
Walter Crockett. 
John Adams. 
James Robertson. 
John T. Sawyers. 
Robert Moffett. 
John Tavlor. 

Henry Patton. 
John Hough. 
Flower Swift. 
Thomas Goodson. 
Joseph Cloyd. 
George Rutlege. 
William Love. 
James Taylor. 
Anthony Bledsoe. 
Jonathan Isan. 
George Pearis. 
James Reaburn. 
James Newell. 
John Taylor. 
William Russell. 
James P. Preston. 
William Davis. 
James Woods. 
Thomas Shannon. 
James Barnett. 
^Villiam Preston. 
David French. 

County and District Officers, 361 

The following is a list of the names of the sheriffs of Fin- 
castle and Montgomery counties from 1773 to 1806 : 

William Ingles. John Montgomery. 

Walter Crockett. Andrew Lewis. 

James McCorkle. Charles Taylor. 

Daniel Trigg. Joseph Cloyd. 

James Barnett. Henry Patton. 

The following are the names of the gentlemen who repre- 
sented this New River district of country in the various consti- 
tutional conventions of Virginia, viz : 

1776, Arthur Campbell and William Russell, representing 
Fincastle County. 

1788, the convention assembled to consider the ratification 
or rejection of the Federal constitution, viz : Walter Crockett 
and Abraham Trigg, from Montgomery County. 

1829-30, Gordon Cloyd, Henley Chapman, George P. Mat- 
thews and William Oglesby. 

1850-51, Albert G. Pendleton, Allen T. Caperton and A. A. 


Giles County — Manilius Chapman. 

Monroe County — Allen T. Caperton and John Echols. 

Mercer County — Napoleon B. French. 

Tazewell County — William P. Cecil and Samuel L. Graham. 


Giles and Pulaski Counties — Eustace Gibson. 
Tazewell and Bland Counties — James M. French. 


Giles and Pulaski Counties — Joseph C. Wysor. 
Tazewell County — Albert Pendleton Gillespie. 

Members of the House of Representatives of the United 
States, representing the territory in the now counties of Mont- 
gomery, Giles, Tazewell, Monroe and Mercer, from 1789 to the 


New Eiver Settlements 

creation and organization of the state of West Virginia, June 
20th, 1863, and also the names of those who have been members 
of Congress from the 9th Congressional District of Virginia 
since 1863: 


Andrew Moore. 
Hugh Caperton. 
Robert Craig. 
A. A. Chapman. 
Fayette McMullen. 
Francis Preston. 
John Floyd. 
William McComas. 
William B. Preston. 
W. R. Staples. 
Abram Trigg. 
Robert B. Craig. 
Andrew Bierne. 
Henry A. Edmundson. 

State Senators from 
gomery, Giles, Monroe, 
1773-1863 : 

William Christian. 
John Preston. 
James Hoge. 
Andrew Bierne. 
Manilius Chapman. 
Charles H. G reaver. 
A. A. Chapman. 
William Fleming. 
James Preston. 
Henley Chapman. 


Daniel Hoge, 1865-7. 
James K. Gibson, 1869-71. 
William Terrv, 1871-73. 
Rees T. Bowen, 1873-75. 
William Terry, 1875-77. 
A. L. Pridemore, 1877-79. 
J. B. Richmond, 1879-81. 
Abram Fulkerson, 1881-83. 
Henry Bowen, 1883-85. 
C. F. Trigg, 1885-87. 
Henry Bowen, 1887-89. 
John A. Buckhannan, 1889-93. 
James W. Marshall, 1893-95. 
James A. Walker, 1895-99. 
W. F. Rhea, 1899-1903. 
C. T. Slemp, 1903-1905. 

the district comprising in part Mont- 
Mercer and Tazewell counties from 

William Thomas. 
William H. French. 
J. W. M. Witten. 
William Russell. 
John Chapman. 
Joseph Draper. 
Allen T. Caperton. 
William B. Preston. 
Napoleon B. French. 

Members of House op Delegates. 363 

The following is a list of the names of the gentlemen who 
represented Montgomery County in the General Assembly of 
Virginia from 1785 to 1806, inclusive : 

1785-6 — Robert Sayers and John Breckenridge. 
1788 — Daniel Trigg and Joseph Oloyd. 
1793 — Andrew Lewis and John Preston. 
1795-6 — James Craig and James Barnett. 
1797-8 — John Ingles and James Taylor. 
1800 — Daniel Howe and James Craig. 
1804 — John Ingles and John Gardner. 
1805 — John Ingles and Andrew Lewis. 

Giles County^ being created in 1806, and being entitled to 
two representatives, the following named gentlemen were elect- 
ed as her representatives : 

1807-8-9-10 — Andrew Johnston and Thomas Shannon. 
1811 — Andrew Johnston and Hugh Caperton, Sr. 
1812 — John Chapman, Jr., and Christian Snidow. 
1813-14 — David Johnston and John Chapman, Jr. 
1815-16-17 — Andrew Johnston and William Smith. 
1818-19 — John Peters, Jr., and John Kirk, Sr. 
1820-21-22— David Johnston and Christian Snidow. 
1823-24— William H. Snidow and William Smith. 
182.5 — Charles King and William Smith. 
1826— William H. Snidow and Charles King. 
1827— William H. Snidow and William Smith. 
1828— William H. Snidow and Charles King . 
1829 — Samuel Pack and George N. Pearis. 
1830 — Samuel Pack and Charles King. 

Under the Constitution of 1829-30 Giles County was en- 
titled to one delegate only, and the following named gentle- 
men were elected to the assembly from that county, to- wit : 

1831— William Smith. 1835— Reuben F. Watts. 

1832— William H. Snidow. 1836-37— Daniel Hale. 

1833-34— Morton P. Emmons. 

364 New River Settlements 

Mercer County, created in 1837, and attached to the delegate 
district of Giles and Mercer, elected the following representa- 
tives to the assembly, to-wit : 

1838— William Smith. 1846— Madison Allen. 

1839 — Manilius Chapman. 1847 — Cornelius White. 

1840— Charles King. 1848— Lewis Neal. 

1841— Oscar F. Johnson. 1849— Elijah Bailey. 

1842-3— William H. French. 1850— Albert G. Pendleton. 

1844— Albert G. Pendleton. 1851— George W. Pearls. 
1845— William H. French. 

Representatives from Giles County after adoption of 
the Constitution of 1850-1 : 

1852-5— Thomas Shannon. 1809-71- F. W. Mahood. 

1855-7— A. G. Pendleton. 1871-3— J. C. Snidow. 

1857-9— Madison Allen. 1873-5— P. W. Strother. 

1859-61— Samuel Lucas. 1875-7— S. E. Lybrook. 

1861-3 — William Eggleston. 1877-9 — James D. Johnston. 

1863-5— Absolom Fry. 1879-81— C. J. Mathews. 

1866-8— A. G. Pendleton. 1881-3— S. E. Lybrook. 

Representatives from Pulaski and Giles: 

1883-5— J. H. Darst. 1891-3— J. R. Caddall. 

1885-7— J. E. Moore. 1893-7— James W. Williams. 

1887-9— H. B. Howe. 1897-9—1). C. Pollard. 

1889-91— S. E. Lybrook. 1899-01— J. R. Stafford. 

Representatives from Bland and Giles : 
1901-3— George T. Bird. 1905— Martin Williams. 

Under the Constitution of 1851 Mercer County was entitled 
to a delegate of her own, and under that Constitution elections 
were held everv two years, and the following are the names of 
the gentlemen who represented Mercer County after the adop- 
tion of this Constitution, viz : 

1851-52— Reuben Garretson. 1855-56— William M. Meador. 
1853-54— James M. Bailey. 1857-59— James M. Bailey. 

Constitutional Delegates and U. S. Senators. 365 

1860-61 — Napoleon B. French. 1865 — Alexander Maliood ; elect 
1862-61 — Robert A, Richardson. ed, but did not serve. 

West Virginia Constitutional Conventions^ 1863-1872. 

Captain Richard M. Cook, of Wyoming County, claimed to 
have represented Mercer County in the West Virginia Consti- 
tutional convention of 1863, but no evidence can be adduced 
that he was ever legally elected as such representative, or had 
any legal authority to sit in that body as the representative of 
the people of Mercer County. 

In the convention of 1872 the Senatorial district delegates 
were Doctor Isaiah Bee, of Mercer, and Honorable Evermont 
Ward, of Cabell ; and Elder James Calfee represented the 
County of Mercer. 

United States Senators from West Virginia from 1863 to 
the ijresent: 

Peter C. Van Winkle, Parkerburg; December 7th, 1863, March 
4th, 1869. 

Waitman P. Willey, Morgantown; December 7th, 1863, to 
March 1th, 1871. 

Arthur I. Boreman, Parkersburg; March 4th, 1869, to March^ 

Henry G. Davis, Piedmont; March 4th, 1871, to March Ith^ 


Allen T. Caperton, Union ; March 4th, 1875, to death July 26th, 

Samuel Price, Lewisburg; appointed August 26th, 1876; De- 
cember 4th, 1876, to January 30th, 1877. 

Frank Hereford, Union; January 31st, 1877, to March 3rd, 


Johnson N. Camden, Parkersburg; March 4th, 1881, to March 
3rd, 1887. 

John E, Kenna, Charleston; March 4th, 1883, to March 3rd, 
1895. (Died in 1893.) 

366 New River Settlements 

Charles J. Faulkner, Martinsburg; March 4th, 1887, to March 

3rd, 1893. 
Johnson N. Camden ,Parkersburg ; March 4th, 1893, to March 

3rd, 1895. (Unexpired term of John E. Kenna.) 
Charles J. Faulkner, Martinsburg; March 4th, 1893, to March 

3rd, 1899. 
Stephen B. Elkins, Elkins; March 4th, 1895, to March 3rd, 1901. 
N. B. Scott, Wheeling ; March 4th, 1899, to March 3rd, 1905. 
Stephen B. Elkins, Elkins ; March 4th, 1901, to March 3rd, 1907. 
N. B. Scott, elected January, 1905, for a term of six years. 

Congressional Elections^ 1864-1904, in the 3rd and 5th Dis- 
tricts of West Virginia, which districts embrace Mercer 
County : 

1864— K. V. Whaley, Rep., over John M. Phelps, Dem., by 1236 

1866 — Daniel Polsley, Rep., over John H. Oley, Dem., by 1471 

1808 — John S. Witcher, Rep., over Charles P. T. Moore, Dem., 

by 1409 majority. 
1870 — Frank Hereford, Dem., over John S. Witcher, Rep., by 

1493 majority. 
1872— Frank Hereford, Dem., over J. B. Walker, Rep., by 8884 

1874 — Frank Hereford, Dem., over John S, Witcher, Rep., by 

5779 majority. 
1876 — Frank Hereford, Dem., over Benj. T. Redmond, Rep., by 

17,573 majority. 
1878 — John E. Kenna, Dem., over Henry S. Walker, Gr. B., by 

2827 majority. 
1880 — John E. Kenna, Dem., over Henry S. Walker, Gr. B., by 

5310 majority. 
1882 — John E. Kenna, Dem., over E. L. Buttrick, Rep., by 4465 

1883-4 — C. P. Snyder, Dem., over James H. Brown, Rep., by 

1230 majority. 

Congressmen and State Senators. 367 

1884 — C. P. Snyder, Dem., over James W. Davis, Rep., by 2119 

1886 — C. P. Snyder, Dem., over James H. Brown, Rep., by 815 

1888 — John D. Alderson, Dem., over J. H. McGinnis, Rep., by 

1293 majority. 
1890 — John D. Alderson, Dem., over Theophilus Gaines, Rep., 

by 5014 majority. 
1892 — John D. Alderson, Dem., over Edgar P. Rucker, Rep., by 

1946 majority. 
1894 — James H. Huling, Rep., over John D. Alderson, Dem., 

by 4018 majority. 
1896— Charles P. Dorr, Rep., over E. W. Wilson, Dem., by 3631 

1898 — David E. Johnston, Dem., over William S. Edwards, 

Rep., by 765 majority. 
1900 — Joseph H. Gaines, Rep., over David E. Johnston, Dem,, 

by 6570 majority. 
1902 — James A. Hughes, Rep., over David E. Johnston, Dem., 

by 4750 majority. 
1904 — James A. Hughes, Rep., over Simon Altizer, Dem., by 

6317 majority. 

State Senators from the senatorial district composed of 
Mercer and other counties from 1863 : 

Robert Hager, David E. Johnston. 

William Workman. Wayne Ferguson. 

Mitchell Cook. Jerome C. Shelton. 

Thomas B. Kline. John W. McCreery. 

I. E. McDonald. John B. Floyd. 

W. E. Wilkenson. William M. Mahood. 

Ira J. McGinnis. John A. Sheppard. 

Joel E. Stollings. W. H. H. Cook. 

C. V. White. James F. Beavers. 

Clark W. May. W. W. Whyte. 


New River Settlements 

The following are the names of the representatives of Mer- 
cer County in the House of Delegates of West Virginia, from 
1863 to 1905, inclusive : 

Regular and extra ses- 

1S63-7— Thomas Little 

sion, George Evans. 
1869— William M. French. 
1870 — George Evans. 
1871 — Sylvester Upton. 
1872— William L. Bridges. 
1872-3— Isaac J. Ellison. 
1875— William M. Reynolds. 
1877 — William B. Davidson. 
1879— Carroll Clark. 
1881-3— Isaiah Bee. 

1885— A. C. Davidson. 
1887— William M. Reynolds. 
1889- R. G. Meador. 
1891-93— H. M. Shumate. 
1895— J. C. Pack. 
1897 — James A. White. 
1899— Isaiah Bee. 
1901 — James Hearn. 
1903— D. P. Crockett and 

Thomas Reed. 
1905— E. S. Baker and 

James Hearn. 

The following is a 
practice in the Circuit 

Henley Chapman. 
Thomas J. Boyd. 
David Hall. 
Sterling F. Watts. 
William P. Cecil. 
A. A. Chapman, 
John J. Wade. 
Henry L. Gillespie. 
Hugh S. Tiffany. 
James H. McGinnis. 
William A. Monroe. 
J. Speed Thompson. 
David E. Johnston. 
C. A. Sperry. 
R. C. McClaugherty. 
Alonzo Gooch. 
James H. French. 
J. W. Hale. 

list of the attorney s-at-1 aw admitted to 
Court of Mercer County: 

Wirt A. French. 
Charles R. McNutt. 
Albert G. Pendleton, 
Nathaniel Harrison. 
James H. Ferguson. 
John A. Kelley. 
Alexander Mahood. 
Samuel Price. 
John Echols. 
James W. English. 
W. G. Ryan. 
Cyrus Newlon. 
John Phelps. 
J. M. Killey. 
Samuel C. Graham. 
S. S. Dinwiddle. 
M. M. Lowry. 
James M. French. 

Attorneys of Mercer County. 


Martin Williams. 
D. W. McClaugherty. 
George E. Floyd. 
Edgar Rucker. 
A. J. May. 
S. M. B. Couling. 
Thomas L. Henritzie, 
Benjamine F. Keller. 
Thomas Bruce. 
Allen T. Caperton. 
Joseph Stras. 
Evermont Ward. 
James P. Kelley. 
Manilius Chapman. 
James D. Johnston. 
Robert A. Richardson. 
Wade D. Strother. 
Frank Hereford. 
A. G. Tebbetts. 
James W. Davis. 
F. W. Mahood. 
James B. Peck. 
H. C. Alderson. 
W. W. Adams. 
Thomas J. Munsey. 
Sdmuel W. Williams. 
John W. McCreery. 
W. W. McClaugherty. 
S. D. May. 
John Osborne, 
Robert L. French. 
James L. Hamill. 
Joseph S. Clark. 
A. W, Reynolds. 
A. C. Davidson. 
M. T. Browning. 

George Evans. 
E. T. Mahood. 
Charles W. Smith. 
James W. St. Clair. 
W. L. Taylor. 
J. R. Fishburne. 
James E. Brown. 
H. A. Ritz. 
Joseph S. French. 
Z. W. Crockett. 
H. W. Straley, Jr. 
Hugh G. Woods. 
B. W. Pendleton. 
Jesse D. Daniel. 
John M. Anderson. 
James S. Browning. 
R. R. Henry. 
I. C. Herndon. 
R. Haden Penn. 
Martin H. Holt. 
John R. Pendleton. 
Frank M. Peters. 
J. Frank Maynard. 
Jas. French Strother. 
D, M. Easley. 
George Crockett. 
Jas. A. Strother. 
William M. Mahood. 
John M. McGrath. 
A. M. Sutton. 
J. W. Hicks. 
Wyndham Stokes. 
A. P. Gillespie. 
J. W. Heptinstall. 
Claude Holland. 
John Nininger. 


New River Settlements 

(attorneys of mercer county — Cont'd.). 

Okey Johnson. 
E. W. Hale. 
P. W. Strother. 
Bernard McClaugherty. 
J. W. Chapman. 
G. J. Holbrook. 

Joseph M. Sanders. 
Cjrus Martin. 
John R. Dillard. 
D. H. Johnston. 
Norman S. Allen. 

The following is a list of persons who have held the office of 
sheriff of Mercer County from 1837 to the present time : 

1837 — William Smith was appointed by the Governor of 

1838— William Smith. 
1839— John Davidson. 
1840 — John Davidson. 
1841-2— John Brown. 
1843— Robert Gore. 
1844-6— Elijah Peters. 
1847-8— H. A. Walker. 
1849-50— Cornelius White. 
1851— Robert Hall. 
1852-3— Benjamine McNutt. 
1854— Ralph Hale. 
1856— Ralph Hale. 

1858-60— John A. Pack. 
1860-64— John A. Pack. 
1866-70— Benjamine White. 
1870-1— John T. Smith. 
1872-6 — George L. Karnes. 
1876-80— John S. Carr. 
1880-4— Jos. H. McClaugherty. 
1884-8 — George L. Karnes. 
1888-92— James A. White. 
1892-96— R. C. Dangerfield. 
1896-1900— J. E. T. Sentz. 
1904— L. B. Farley. 
David Lilley elected sheriff in 1870, but declined to qualify 
and John T. Smith was appointed in his place. 

surveyors of mercer county. 

Robert Hall. Edv/ard H. French. 

Andrew White, L. M. Stinson. 

W. J. Comer. John Bailey. 
George W. Caldwell. 

judges of the criminal court of mercer county. 

Hon, James M. French. Hon. Charles W. Smith. 

Hon. John M. McGrath. Hon. Hugh H, Woods, 

Mercer County Officers. 371 

The following is a list of the names of the Clerks of the 
County Court of Mercer County from 1837 to the present time : 

1837 — Moses E. Kerr served seven years. 

1844 — Charles W. Calfee served seven years. 

1851 — William F. Heptinstall served for one year. 

1852-65— Charles W. Calfee. 

1865 — George Evans, recorder and clerk of Circuit Court. 

1870-71 — Joseph H. Alvis, Recorder and Clerk. 

1872 — George Evans, Recorder and Clerk. 

1873-9 — Benjamine G. McNutt, Recorder and Clerk. 

1879-85— C. R. McNutt. 

1885-91— Samuel P. Pearis. 

1891-7— William H. H. Witten. 

1897-1903— A. J. Hearn. 

1903 — Estill Bailey, elected for six years. 

The following is a list of the names of the Clerks of the 
Circuit Court for Mercer County from 1837 to the present time : 

1837-43 — James M. Cunning- 1871-3— George Evans. 

ham. 1873-9— R. B. Foley. 

1843-55— Alexander Mahood. 1879-85— F. A. Bolin. 

1855-59— Joseph H. Alvis. 1885-96— R. C. Christie. 

1859-65— William A. Mahood. 1896-1902— W. B. Honaker. 

1865-69— George Evans. 1902— W. B. Honaker. 
1869-70— Joseph H. Alvis. 

The following is a list of the names of Justices of the Peace 
for Mercer County from 1837 to 1904 : 

1837— Moses E. Kerr. 1850— George W. Pearis. 

1837— William Smith. 1850— N. B. French. 

1837— Josiah Meador. 1850— Elijah Peters, 

1837 — Robert Lilley. 1854 — James Brammer. 

1837— John Davidson. 1854— H. W. Straley. 

1840— Henry Brooks. 1854— William M. French. 

1840 — James Shrewsbury. 1854 — John S. Carr. 

1850— William Smith. 1854— Ralph Hale. 


New River Settlements 

(mercer county 

1855 — Cornelius White. 
1865— A. W. Cole. 
1865— A. W. J. Caperton. 
1865 — James Bowling. 
1865— Joel Sloane. 
1866— Russell G. French. 
1866— R. Hambriek. 
1866— Joel Sloane. 
1866— A. W. J. Caperton. 
186&— William Meadows. 
1867— A. W. Cole. 
1867 — James Bowling. 
1867— A. W. J. Caperton. 
1868— Lorenzo D. Little. 
1869— A. J. Davis. 
1870— William C. Honaker. 
1871 — John J. Hetherington. 
1872 — Henry Davidson. 
1872— Zachariah Fellers. 
1872— A. J. Davis. 
1872— A. W. J. Caperton. 
1872— Eli Bailey. 
1872 — Lorenzo D. Martin. 
1872— Lewis Lilley. 
1872— David B. Pendleton. 
1872— A. G. Stovell. 
1872— Andrew White. 
1872— William A. Wiley. 
1877— William Meador. 
1877 — Henry Davidson. 
1881— Elijah Bailey. 
1881 — Joshua Day. 
1881 — Henry Davidson. 
1881— Harmon White. 
1881 — Henry Higginbotham. 

officers — Cont'd.) . 
1881 — Leonidas Goodwyn. 
1881— A. I. Godfrey. 
1881— Lewis Lilley. 
1881 — John L. Johnston. 
1881— L. D. Martin. 
1881— T. J. Monroe. 
1882— J. F. Holroyd. 
1882— N. B. French. 
1883— Gaston P. Walker. 
1884 — John L. Johnston. 
1884— John S. Carr. 
1884— Lewis Lilley. 
1885— George W. Belcher. 
1885— H. F. Gore. 
1885— Elijah Bailey. 
1885— Leftwich Bailey. 
1885 — James F. Holroyd. 
1885 — John L. Johnston. 
1886— A. J. Young. 
1887— A. W. Read. 
1888— A. W. Read. 
1888— L. C. Shrewsberry. 
1888— R. C. Dangerfleld. 
1889— Z. T. Rodgers. 
1889— W. F. Steele. 
1889— George Burch. 
1889— John T. Carr. 
1889— William A. Cooper. 
1889— A. I. Godfrey. 
1889— H. F. Gore. 
1889— L. L. Hearn. 
1889— Lewis Lilley. 
1890— D. E. Burgess. 
1890— M. W. Franklin. 
1890 — James H. Bare. 

Counties — When Formed,, Etc. 


1891— W. J. Clark. 
1892— Willoughby Miller. 
1894— H. G. Thorn. 
1894— A. I. Godfrey. 
1894 — J .A. Chambers. 
1894— David French. 
1895— G. C. Bailey. 
1895— William J. Clark. 
1895— H. E. Thomas. 
1895— John L. Biggs. 
1896— Davis Thorn. 
1896— T. C. Comer. 
1896— W. J. Rumburg. 
1896— L. L. Hearn. 
1896— E. T. Oliver. 
1897— C. S. Hedrick. 
1897— F. J. Brown. 
1897— G. C. Bailey. 
1897— David French. 
1897— Allen C. Wiley. 
1899— C. W. Gore. 
1900— C. W. Gore. 
1900— James H. Brinkley. 

1900— F. J. Brown. 
1900— T. C. Hubbard. 
1900— W. S. Harless. 
1900— E. T. Oliver. 
1900— Davis Thorn. 
1903— Joshua Day. 
1903— J. A. Chambers. 
1903— Allen C. Wiley. 
1903— George O. Tavor. 
1903— J. D. Burkholder. 
1903— John T. Carr. 
1903— W. T. Eperly. 
1903— W. A. Henderson. 
1903— R. A. Glendy. 
1903— J. M. Anderson . 
1904— E. P. Godby. 
1904— W. S. Harless. 
1904 — James A. Lilley. 
1904— J. A. Chambers. 
1904— C. W. Gore. 
1904 — George P. Danewood. 
1904— Burk. 






Prior to 1738 all that part of Virginia lying west of the Blue 
Ridge was included in the County of Orange, but in the fall 
session of that year this territory was divided into the counties 
of Frederick and Augusta. It may be of interest to the reader 
to present a list of the various sub-divisions of the territory 

374 New Kiver Settlements 

referred to into counties, with the dates of formation and from 
whence the names of the counties were derived : 

Hampshire, 1754, from Hampshire, England. 

Botetourt, 1770, from Governor Botetourt. 

Berlveley, 1772, from Governor Berkeley. 

Dunmore, 1772, from Governor Dunmore, but name changed to 
Shenandoah in 1777. 

Fincastle, 1772, from English country home of Governor Bote- 

Montgomery, 1776, from General James Montgomery. 

Washington, 1776, from General George Washington. 

Kentucky, 1776, from Indian name, "Dark and Bloody Ground." 

Fincastle, abolished in 1776. 

Ohio, 1776, from Ohio River. 

Monongalia, 1776, from Indian name. 

Youghiogeny, 1776, from Indian name. This county was abol- 
ished when line between Virginia and Pennsylvania was 

Shenandoah, 1772, name Indian, from River Sherando, formerly 
Dunmore County; name changed in 1777. 

Greenbrier, 1777, from many Greenbriers along the river. 

Rockbridge, 1778, from Natural Bridge. 

Rockingham, 1778, from English name. 

Harrison, 1778, from Governor Benjamin Harrison, of Vir- 

Illinois, 1779, from Illinois Indians; this county passed from 
Virginia by her cession of the Northwest Territory. 

Hardy, 1786, from Samuel Hardy, a member of Congress. 

Russell, 1786, from General William Russell. 

Randolph, 1787, from Edmund Randolph. 

Pendleton, 1788, from Edmund Pendleton. 

Kanawha, 1789, from Indian Tribe, Canawhays. 

Wythe, 1790, from Judge George Wythe. 

Bath, 1791, from English name. 

Lee, 1792, from Governor Henry Lee, of Virginia. 

Grayson, 1793, from William Grayson, a member of Congress. 

Counties — When Formed^ Etc. 375 

Brooke, 1797, from Governor Robert Brooke. 
Monroe, 1799, from Governor James Monroe. 
Tazewell, 1799, from Mr. Tazewell, member House of Delegates 

from Norfolk County. 
Wood, 1799, from Governor James W^ood. 
Jefiferson, 1801, from Thomas Jefferson. 
Mason, 1804, from Stevens Thompson Mason, 
Giles, 180G, from Governor William B. Giles. 
Cabell, 1809, from Governor William H. Cabell. 
Scott, 1814, from General Winfield Scott. 
Tyler, 1814, from Governor John Tyler. 
Lewis, 1816, from Colonel Charles Lewis. 
Preston, 1818, from Governor James P. Preston. 
Nicholas, 1818, from Governor Wilson C. Nicholas. 
Morgan, 1820, from General Daniel Morgan. 
Pocahontas, 1821, from the Indian Princess. 
Alleghaney, 1822, from name of Mountain. 
Logan, 1824, from Mingo chief. 
Page, 1831, from Governor John Page. 
Fayette, 1831, from General LaFayette. 
Floyd, 1831, from Governor John Floyd. 
Smyth, 1831, from General Alexander Smyth. 
Jackson, 1831, from President Andrew Jackson. 
Marshall, 1835, from Chief Justice John Marshall. 
Braxton, 1836, from Carter Braxton. 
Clarke, 1836, from General George Rodgers Clarke. 
Warren, 1836, from General Warren. 
Mercer, 1837, from General Hugh Mercer. 
Roanoke, 1838, from Indian name "Much Wampum." 
Pulaski, 1839, from Count Pulaski. 
Carroll, 1842, from Charles Carroll, of Carrollton. 
Marion, 1842, from General Francis Marion. 
Wayne, 1842, from General Anthony Wayne. 
Ritchie, 1843, from Thomas Ritchie. 
Gilmer, 1843, from Governor Thomas W. Gilmer. 
Barbour, 1843, from Governor James Barbour. 

376 New River Settlements 

(counties — WHEN FORMED, ETC.). 

Taylor, 1844, from John Taylor, of Caroline. 

Doddridge, 1845, from Philip Doddridge. 

Wetzel, 1846, from Lewis Wetzel. 

Highland, 1846, named from the High land. 

Boone, 1847, from Daniel Boone. 

Wirt, 1848, from William Wirt. 

Hancock, 1848, from John Hancock. 

Putnam, 1848, from Israel Putnam. 

Wyoming, 1848, from Wyoming Indian Tribe. 

Raleigh, 1850, from Sir Walter Raleigh. 

Upshur, 1850, from Abel P. Upshur. 

Craig, 1851, from Robert Craig, member of Congress from 

Montgomery County. 
Pleasants, 1851, from Governor James Pleasants. 
Calhoun, 1855, from John C. Calhoun. 
Wise, 1855, from Governor Henry A. Wise. 
Roane, 1856, from Judge Spencer Roane. 
Clay, 1856, from Henry Clay. 
Tucker, 1856, from Henry St. George Tucker. 
McDowell, 1858, from Governor James McDowell. 
Buchanan, 1858, from President James Buchanan. 
Webster, 1860, from Daniel Webster. 
Bland, 1861, from Theodoric Bland. 

Mineral, 1866, from mineral deposits found in that territory. 
Grant, 1866, from General U. S. Grant 
Lincoln, 1867, from President Abraham Lincoln. 
Summers, 1871, from Judge Lewis Summers. 
Dickenson, 1880, from Mr. Dickenson of that county. 
Mingo, 1895, from Indian tribe of that name. 



Richard Bailey the elder, was a soldier in the American army 
during the war of the Revolution, and his residence was on the 
Black water, in that portion of Bedford County, Virginia, 
which subsequently became a part of Franklin County. Rich- 
ard Bailey married Miss Annie Belcher, and their family con- 
sisted of ten children, eight sons and two daughters. The sons 
were John, James, Eli, Micajah, Archibald, Reuben, Richard, 
and Henry. Mr. Bailey came with his family to the Beaver 
Pond spring in the year of 1780, and together with John G. 
Davidson, built the block-house or fort near that spring which 
was afterwards known as the '^Davidson-Bailey Fort." Aside 
from Mr. Davidson and his family, Mr. Bailey's neighbors were 
Captain James Moore, in Abb's Valley, some ten miles away; 
Mitchell Clay, on the Bluestone at the Clover Bottom, about 
twelve miles away; Joshua Day, at the mouth of Laurel Fork 
of Wolf Creek, about fifteen miles away; Hickman Compton, 
on Clear Fork of Wolf Creek, eight miles away, and Gideon 
Wright, at the head of the South Fork of Bluestone, twelve 
miles away. The sons of Richard Bailey, especially the elder 
ones, were great Indian scouts and fighters, and were splendid 
specimens of physical strength and manhood and of great per- 
sonal courage. 

John Bailey, the eldest son, married Nancy Davidson, the 
daughter of John G. Davidson, and, in 1789, he built a log 
house on the south side of Bowyer's branch, on the farm now 
owned by Thompson Calfee — this building is still standing at 
this writing — and in which Mr. Jonathan Bailey, their oldest 
son, was born in 1790, and when he was but four days old an 
Indian incursion into the neighborhood caused Mr. Bailey to 

378 New River Settlements 

take his wife and child on horseback to the fort at the Beaver 

Henry Bailey, the youngest son of Richard the elder, married 
a Miss Peters, daughter of John Peters, of New River. Among 
the sons of Henry were John P., Elijah, Colonel James M., 
Philip P., and Major William R. Bailey. John P. Bailey went 
to Texas in the forties. Elijah was quite a prominent citizen 
in his day, having been a member of the House of Delegates of 
Virginia from the Counties of Giles and Mercer, and was after- 
ward sheriff of Mercer County and long a Justice of the Peace 
of said county. Colonel James M. also represented Mercer 
County in the House of Delegates, and was a colonel of militia ; 
and William R. was likewise a major in the Mercer militia. 

Nancy, one of the daughters of Henry, married Charles W. 
Calfee, who was long the Clerk of the Mercer County Court. 
Elizabeth first married William Ferguson and subsequently the 
Rev. Carroll Clark. Jane married Wilson D. Calfee, and Polly 
first married James Bailey, and, after his death, married John 
Bailey ; she was a woman of strong good sense and intellect. 

From the elder Richard Bailey, the first settler, descended all 
the numerous families by that name, now scattered over several 
of the counties of West Virginia, particularly Mercer, Mc- 
Dowell, Wyoming, and Logan, and in Tazewell County, Vir- 

Robert H. Bailey, a great grandson of the elder Richard, has 
been prominent in county affairs. Estill Baile^', another great 
grandson, is now the Clerk of the County Court of Mercer 
County. Many of this family are prominent citizens of ad- 
jacent counties; among them may be mentioned Theodore F. 
Bailey, of Wyoming. Nearly all who bore that name, during 
our great civil strife, were gallant and brave soldiers. 


This family is of Scottish origin. The founder thereof in 
America — at least of those of the name who came across the 

The Bane Family. 379 

Alleghanies — was James Bane, who came, in 1688, to New 
Castle, Delaware. He had left his country because of political 
ostracism, and sought shelter in the land soon destined to be 
free. He bought valuable lands of William Penn in what was 
then, or had been, Pennsylvania. 

James, one of the descendants of the first named James, 
came into the Virginia Valley about 1748, and there married, 
in 1751, Kebecca McDonald, a granddaughter of Bryan and 
Mary Combs McDonald, of New Castle, Delaware. It would 
seem most probable — as some of the McDonalds were settled 
between 1738 and 1744 in Beverly's Manor, near to where the 
present city of Staunton, Virginia, is situated — that he mar- 
ried his wife, Rebecca, in that neighborhood, and thence re- 
moved to the Roanoke section near where Salem now stands, 
about 1763, where he remained until a flood in the Roanoke 
River drove him to and beyond the summit of the Alleghanies, 
into what is now Montgomery County. He came, probably, 
about 1775 — at any rate he had frequently to take shelter from 
the Indians in Barger's Fort, on Tom's Creek. His son, James, 
married Bettie, the daughter of John Haven, of Plum Creek, 
in Montgomery, about 1776, and from thence he removed to 
Walker's Creek in 1793. He had a large family of children, 
viz : 12 ; Mary married John Henderson, Howard married Miss 
Hickman, and a daughter of Howard married Colonel Erastus 
G. Harman, of Bluestone; Colonel James married Mary Hend- 
erson December 31st, 1801 ; Annie married Wilson, 

Sara married John Carr, Rebecca married Burke, 

John married Mary Chapman, Jesse married Jane Carr, Ed- 
ward and Joseph died unmarried, Elizabeth married William 
Carr, William Haven married Sallie Snidow. 

Colonel James Bane and his wife, Mary Henderson Bane, had 
the following children : Sallie, who never married ; Elizabeth 
married Tobias Miller; Maria married Madison Allen, John 
H. married Nancy Shannon, Jane S. married John Crockett 
Graham, William married Jane Grayson, Nancy married 
Thomas Jefl'erson Higginbotham, and Samuel married Lucy 

380 New Riveb Sbttlbmbnts 

B. Baker. A daughter of William Bane married John D. 
Snidow, and Mr. William Bane Snidow, a prominent lawyer of 
Pearisburg, Virginia, is tlieir son. All of this family of Banes, 
who were in the war 1861-5, were good soldiers; a number of 
them were killed and wounded. Joseph Edward Bane was 
killed in the first battle of Manassas, and Major John T. Bane 
was a distinguished soldier in Hood's Texas Brigade. Of this 
family have come some of the very best citizens of Giles and 
surrounding counties. Donald Bane succeeded Malcolm III as 
King of Scotland between the years 1093-1153. 


Isham Belcher married a Miss Hodges, in Franklin County, 
Virginia, and came to what is now Mercer County, then Wythe, 
in 1796, and settled on what is known as the Waldron farm, 
about two miles Southeast of the present city of Bluefield. He 
was a nephew of Phoebe Clay, the wife of Mitchell Clay, the 
elder. Isham Belcher and wife had a family of thirteen chil- 
dren, eleven sons and two daughters; the sons were Obediah, 
Isham, Jesse, Asa, Henry D., John, Micajah, Jonathan, Moses, 
James, and Robert D. From Isham Belcher, the elder, de- 
scended all the people of that name scattered over a number of 
the counties of Southern West Virginia. Captain George W. 
Belcher, a grandson of the elder Isham, Alexander Belcher and 
many of that name and blood were bold, courageous Confeder- 
ate soldiers in our civil war. 


The Rev. Dr. Samuel Black, a minister in the Presbyterian 
Church — of Scotch extraction — was born in 1700; educated in 
Edinburg, Scotland, and licensed to preach at Glasgow; came 
to America in 1735, and first located at and had charge of the 
church in Brandywiue Manor in Chester County, Pennsylvania. 
Later he removed to Albemarle County, Virginia, where he was 

The Barnes Family. 381 

pastor of Joy and Mountain Plains Churches for the remainder 
of his long and useful life. 

His sons, John and William, came across the Alleghanies 
and settled nearby where the town of Blacksburg, in Mont- 
gomery County, is now situated. The year of their coming 
seems not definitely known, but it was during the border Indian 
wars. John had married Miss Jane Alexander, who, with an 
infant son, he brought with him into the wilderness, where 
with the aid of a servant he erected a dwelling house which was 
shortly thereafter burned by the Indians, he and his family 
escaping to the woods and finally to Augusta, where he left his 
family until he could erect another dwelling, which he turned 
into a fort for protection against the Savages. He served in 
the American army during our war for Indpendence, under 
General William Campbell, and was with him at the time of 
the treaty with the Indians, at Long Island, Tennessee. Two 
of his sons were in the war of 1812, and one of them, Matthew, 
died in the service. Five of his sons went to the state of Ohio, 
where their descendants now live. His daughter, Susan, who 
married Stephen McDonald, went to Missouri; Mary, another 
daughter, married Walter Crockett, and they went to the 
Pacific coast; while the son, Alexander, remained at Blacks- 
burg. John Black lived to the age of ninety-four years; his 
wife, Jane Alexander, was of the family of that name, some of 
whom settled in the county of Monroe. 

William Black gave the land on which the town of Blacks- 
burg, Virginia, now stands, and which was incorporated by the 
General Assembly of Virginia, in the year of 1798. By this act 
George Rutledge, John Black, James P. Preston, Edward Rut- 
ledge, William Black and John Preston were made trustees. 
William Black removed to the county of Albemarle in the year 
of 1800. 


Robert Barnes, born in Ireland in 1765, first settled in Mary- 

382 New River Settlements 

land, removed to Rockbridge County, Virginia, and from there 
to the Clinch River section, now in Tazewell County, Virginia. 
He married Grace Brown, and they had two sons: William 
Barnes, born 1790, and John Barnes, born 1798. William 
Barnes married Levicie Ward. John Barnes married Lilly 
Heldieth as his first wife, and as his second Eliza Allen. 

The names of the children of William Barnes are as follows : 
Robert, married Ella Gibson ; Clinton, married Sarah Gilles- 
pie ; Oscar F., married Mary Gillespie ; John, married Margaret 
Smith; Mary, married William T. Moore; Nancy, married James 
Harrison ; Amanda, married Moses Higginbotham ; Rebecca, 
died unmarried; Sallie W., married Captain D. B. Baldwin; 
Eliza, married A. J. Copenhaver. 

John Barnes had one son, William, who died unmarried, in 
the Confederate army. 

John Ward, who married Nancy Bowen, was the father of 
Levicie, who married William Barnes; and the children of the 
said John Ward and Nancy Bowen are as follows : Levicie, 
married Wliliajn Barnes; Jane, married Robert Gillespie; 
Rebecca, married William Crawford; Lilly, married John Hill; 
Nancy, married Mr. Hargrave; Henry, married Sallie Wilson; 
Reece, married Levicie Richardson; Rufus, married Elizabeth 
Wilson; David and John, unmarried. 


This family is of Welch extraction, and the immediate an- 
cestors of those that came hither were, long prior to the Amer- 
ican Revolution, located and settled about Fredericktown, in 
western Maryland. Restive in disposition and fond of adven- 
ture, like all of their blood, they sought, fairly early after the 
first white settlements were made in the Valley of Virginia, 
to loolj:,for homes in that direction. How early, or the exact 
date, mat Reece Bowen, the progenitor of the Tazewell family 
of that name, came into the Virginia Valley from his western 
Maryland home, cannot be named with certainty; doubtless he 


The Bowens^ op Tazewell. 383 

came as early as 1765, for it is known that for a few years prior 
to 1772, when he located at Maiden Spring, he was living on 
the Roanoke River, close by where the city of Roanoke is now 
situated. In the Valley of Virginia, where Harrisonburg is ,; ,^,t 
now situated, then in Augusta County, he married Miss.Louisa 
Smith, who proved to him not only a loving and faithful wife, 
but a great helpmeet in his border life. She was evidently a 
woman of more than ordinary intelligence and cultivation for 
one of her day and opportunity. She was a small, neat and 
trim woman, weighing only about one hundred pounds, while 
her husband was a giant in size and strength. It is told as a 
fact that she could step into her husband's hand and that he 
could stand and extend his arm, holding her at right angle to 
his body. 

Prize fighting was quite common in the early days of the set- 
tlements, by which men tested their manhood and prowess. 
The man who could demolish all who chose to undertake him 
was the champion, and wore the belt until some man flogged 
him, and then he had to surrender it. At some period after 
Reece Bowen had settled on the Roanoke, and after the first 
child came into the home, Mrs. Bowen desiring to pay a visit to 
her people in the Valley, she and her babe and husband set out 
on horse-back along the narrow bridle way that then led 
through the valley, and on the way they met a man clad in the 
usual garb of the day — that is, buck-skin trousers, moccasins, 
and hunting shirt, or wampus. The stranger inquired of Mr. 
Bowen his name, which he gave him ; proposed a fight for the 
belt, stating that he understood that he, Bowen, now wore or 
had the belt. Bowen tried to beg off, stating that he was tak- 
ing his wife and child, the latter then in his arms, to her people. 
The man would take no excuse ; finally Mrs. Bowen said to her 
husband: ''Reece, give me the child and get down and slap 
that man's jaws." Mr. Bowen alighted from his horse, took the 
man by the lapel of his hunting shirt, gave him a few quick, 
heavy jerks, when the man called out to let him go, he had 

384 New River Settlements 

It is also related of Mr. Bowen, that in a later prize fight, 
at Maiden Spring, with a celebrated prize fighter who had, 
with his seconds, come from South Carolina to fight Bowen, 
and when he reached Bowen's home and made known to him 
his business, he, Mr. Bowen, did what he could in an honorable 
way to excuse himself from engaging in a fight; but the man 
was persistent and Bowen concluded to accommodate him and 
sent for his seconds — a Mr. Smith and a Mr. Clendenin. The 
fight took place and the gentleman from South Carolina came 
off second best. 

Just when Reece Bowen first saw the territory of what is now 
Tazewell County cannot be definitely stated. Whether he was 
one of the large hunting party organized of men from the 
Virginia Valley, North Carolina and New River, which rendez- 
voused at Ingles' ferry in June, 1769, and hunted on the waters 
of the Holstein, Powell's River, Clinch, and in Kentucky, is 
not known; his name does not appear among the number, but 
the writer, "Haywood's Civil and Political History of Ten- 
nessee," does not profess to give all the names of the party. 
Nevertheless it is highly probable that Bowen was along, or 
he may have gone out with the party the next year, or he may 
have met with the Witten's, and others, on their way out in 
1771, and joined them. He seems not to have made his settle- 
ment at Maiden Spring until the year of 1772. He went with 
Captain William Russell's company to the battle of Point 
Pleasant, in 1774, leaving home in August of that year, and 
leaving Daniel Boone in command of that part of the frontier. 
As already stated in this volume, Boone had been forced to give 
up his journey to Kentucky in September, 1773, on account of 
the breaking out of the Indian war, and had spent the winter 
of 1773-4 in the neighborhood of Captain William Russell, near 

Captain Russell's company belonged to Colonel William 
Christian's Fincastle regiment, the greater part of which did 
not participate in the battle of Point Pleasant, being in the 
rear in charge of the pack horses carrying provisions for the 

The Bowens, of Tazewell. 385 

army ; but Shelby's and Russell's companies went forward with 
the main body and took an active part in the conflict. Moses 
Bowen, a relative of Reece, was with Russell's company, but 
died on the journey, from smallpox. 

From 1774 to 1781, when Reece Bowen marched away to the 
battle of King's Mountain, the border on and along the Clinch 
was harassed by bands of marauding Indians, and in many of 
the skirmishes and troubles Reece Bowen took a hand. Dur- 
ing the period from the date of Bowen's settlement at Maiden 
Spring until his death, to procure salt, iron, and other neces- 
sary materials he had to travel across the mountains to Salis- 
bury, Nortb Carolina, carrying them on a packhorse, and would 
be absent for weeks, leaving his wife and children alone. His 
trips, however, were always made in winter, when there was no 
danger from the Indians. He left rifle 'guns and bear dogs at 
home, and with these his wife felt safe from danger, for she 
was a good shot with a rifle, often exceeding the men in ordi- 
nary rifle practice. Mr. Bowen had selected a lovely country 
for his home, and around and adjacent thereto, prior to the 
fall of 1780, had surveyed and secured several thousand acres 
of that valuable land, of which his descendants today hold 
about twelve square miles. 

When it was known that Lord Cornwallis' army was march- 
ing northward through the Carolinas, and that Colonel Fergu- 
son, who commanded the left wing of his army, had sent a 
threat to the ''Over Mountain Men" that if they did not cross 
the mountains and take the oath of allegiance to the King, 
that he would cross over and destroy with fire and sword, Evan 
Shelby, John Sevier, and William Campbell determined to 
checkmate Colonel Ferguson by crossing the mountains and 
destroying him and his army. Colonel Campbell commanded 
the Washington County military force, and William Bowen a 
company that belonged to Campbell's command, though a part 
of his company lived on the Montgomery County side of the 
line. In this company Reece Bowen was a first lieutenant, his 
son John a private, and James Moore a junior lieutenant. 

386 New River Settlements 

When the order came for Bowen's company to join the regi- 
ment it found its captain, William Bowen, sick of a fever, and 
this situation devolved the command of the company upon 
Lieutenant Reece Bowen, who led it into the battle of King's 
Mountain, and there, together with several of his men, was 
killed and buried on the field. His remains were never re- 
moved, for the reason that when opportunity was offered for 
their removal the spot in which he was buried could not be 
identified. Campbell's regiment lost in this battle 35 killed 
and wounded; among the killed, other than Lieutenant Reece 
Bowen, were Captain William Edmondson, Robert Edmond- 
son, Andrew Edmondson, and Henry Henninger, and among 
the wounded, Charles Kilgore and John Peery, the two latter 
and Henninger from the Upper Clinch waters. 

Reece Bowen has in Tazewell County many highly respected, 
prominent and influential descendants, among them Mr. Reece 
Bowen, Colonel Thomas P. Bowen and Captain Henry Bowen, 
all brave and distinguished Confederate soldiers; the latter. 
Captain Henry, being frequently honored by his people as a 
member of the Legislature of Virginia, and a Representative 
in Congress. The present Mr. Reece Bowen married Miss Mary 
Crockett, of Wythe; Colonel Thomas P., Miss Augusta Stuart, 
of Greenbrier, and Captain Henry, Miss Louisa Gillespie, of 


The Burke family of the New River Valley were among the 
early settlers west of the Alleghanies, having descended from 
James Burke, who came with the Draper's Meadow settlers in 
1748. James Burke was the discoverer of that most magnifi- 
cent body of land now in Tazewell County, Virginia, known 
as Burke's Garden (but called by the Indians ''Great Swamp"). 
It is said that he discovered this lovely spot in 1753 and re- 
moved thither in 1754, and in the fall of 1755 was driven away 
by the Indians. He had a family, and among his sons was 

The Calfee Family. 387 

Captain Thomas Burke, who became a very prominent man in 
the Indian border wars, and commanded a company of troops, 
which was at one time stationed at Hatfield's fort, on Big 
Stony creek. One of his daughters, Mary, married Colonel 
Christian Snidow, another, Rebecca, married Andrew David- 
son. He had a son, William, who at one time was the owner 
of the Red Sulphur Springs property, in Monroe County, and 
several of his family emigrated to the west at an early date. 
The Horse Shoe property in Giles County, granted to James 
Wood, subsequently became the property of Captain Thomas 
Burke, and finally that of Colonel William H. Snidow, his 


This family is of German origin, came out of Pennsylvania 
into the Valley of Virginia and settled in the County of Shen- 
andoah, and from thence came, shortly after the close of the 
American revolution, to what was then Montgomery, now 
Pulaski County. The earliest of the Mercer County Calfees 
was James, who came to that county about 1829, and settled 
at Gladeville, one mile west of the present village of Princeton. 
He subsequently moved to Harman Branch, and later to Clover 
Bottom, on the Bluestone. He had five sons and five daughters. 
His sons were Charles W., who married Miss Nancy Bailey; 
Andrew J., who married Mrs. Brown ; Davis, William, French ; 
the daughters, Polly, Jane, Betsey, Virginia, and Cynthia, none 
of whom ever married. 

Charles W. Calfee and his wife, Nancy Bailey Calfee, had six 
sons and two daughters ; the sons, Albert B., William McHenry, 
George, Harvey M., John C, and William D. The daughters, 
Virginia, who married Dr. John H. Robinson, and Fannie, who 
married John Boggess. Charles W. Calfee was long clerk of 
Mercer County Court. Mr. Davis Calfee was a farmer, and 
lived for many years at New Hope Church, where he died in 
about 1879 ; he was a large man, weighing about 450 pounds. 

388 New River Settlements 

A short time after James Calfee settled in Mercer County, 
came Samuel T., Wilson I)., and James Calfee, Jr.; the latter a 
minister in the church of the Disciples, a man of fine character 
and good ability, representing the County of Mercer in the 
Constitutional convention of 1872. 

Mr. Wilson D. Calfee and his wife, Jane Bailey Calfee, had a 
considerable family of children ; the sons are, Augustus B. Cal- 
fee, Robert M. Calfee, R. Kohler Calfee, and Luther Calfee. 
Mr. H. Sayers Calfee, a brave Confederate soldier, is a son of 
Mr. Samuel T. Calfee, and Mr. Thompson Calfee, who resides 
near Bluefleld, is a son of Elder James Calfee; a daughter of 
James Calfee married Alexander W. Bailey; another daughter 
married Captain William A. Cooper. 


Partly from the manuscript of tliis family, furnished the 
author by the late Mr. John Caperton, of Louisville, Kentucky, 
it is learned tliat it was one among the early settlers of the 
New River Valley, and was originally from the South of Scot- 
land, near Melrose, where they were called Claperton ; dropping 
the 1 they became Caperton; that they afterwards emigrated 
to Wales, and that John Caperton was the first, and probably 
the only one of the name, who came to America. He had three 
sons: Adam, Hugh, and William, and from these three sons 
descended the Capertons of Monroe County, West Virginia; 
the Capertons of the New River in Giles County, Virginia, and 
Mercer County, West Virginia; and the Capertons of Rich- 
mond, Kentucky, and of Mississippi. 

Adam was the progenitor of the Monroe Capertons; Hugh 
of the New River Capertons, and William of the Kentucky 
and Mississippi Capertons. Hugh Caperton, the son of Adam, 
was born in Monroe County; was taken to Kentucky when an 
infant, where his father, Adam, in March, 1782, was killed at 
Mt. Sterling, by the Indians, in the battle known as Estill's 
Defeat, when his son, Hugh, was only two years old. Hugh 

The Chapmans. 389 

returned to Virginia when twelve jears of age, and in part was 
brought up by his uncle, Hugh, of New Eiver. He lived in his 
native county until his death, which occurred in 1847. He was 
a self taught man, and represented his county in the State Leg- 
islature several years, one session in Congress (1816), was a 
member of the Board of Public Works of Virginia for many 
years and until his death. He amassed a large fortune for that 
day, his property being worth at his death |600,000.00. He 
stood guard against the Indians when only twelve years old. 
He married Miss Jane Erskine, and had a family of nine chil- 
dren. His son, Allen T., became a most prominent man, serv- 
ing often in the Legislature of Virginia, both in the House of 
Delegates and in the Senate, and in the Constitutional conven- 
tion of 1850-1 ; in the Confederate Congress, and was serving 
as United States Senator from West Virginia at the time of his 
death. Mr. Allen T. Caperton married Harriet Echols, of Vir- 
ginia, the sister of General John Echols. 

John Caperton, another son of Hugh of Monroe, was a promi- 
nent citizen of Louisville, Kentucky, and died recently at a 
very advanced age. 

Hugh, the progenitor of tlie New River Capertons, was a man 
of much distinction, having served in the Indian wars as a 
Captain of a company, in 1793, at the mouth of the Elk River, 
on the Kanawha ; he served in the Legislature of Virginia much 
over one hundred years ago. 

William Caperton, the progenitor of the Kentucky and Mis- 
sissippi branch of the family, as an orator was without a rival. 
It is said that Henry Clay spoke of him as a very eloquent man. 
George and John Caperton, brothers of Hugh, settled in North- 
ern Alabama, where their descendants still reside. 


The Chapmans (1) were English people, and some of those 

(1). It appears that the first place of settlement of this family, after 
leaving England, was in the state of Connecticut. 

390 Xew River Settlements 

who emigrated to this country came from Connecticut to 
Charles County, Maryland, long prior to the American Revolu- 
tion. After the settlement in Maryland, and before the begin- 
ning of the Revolution, some of them came to Culpeper County, 
Virginia, and settled. Among those who came was Isaac Chap- 
man, who married, in Culpeper County, Miss Sara Cole, by 
whom he had three sons and one daughter. The sons were 
Isaac, John, and Richard, the daughter, Jemima. Isaac went 
South, and finally located in Alabama, where his descendants 
still reside. His grandson. Honorable Reuben Chapman, was 
a member of Congress from Alabama in 1841. John married 
Sallie Abbott and Richard married Margaret Abbott, daughters 
of Richard Abbott of Culpeper County, Virginia; the daughter, 
Jemima, married Moredock O. McKensey, (1) a Scotsman from 
the city of Glasgow, Scotland. Richard Abbott having died, 
his widow married a man by the name of Tracey, by whom she 
had two children, Bettie, who married James Rowe, and a son, 
William Tracey, the ancestor of the Traceys of Wolf Creek of 
New River Valley. 

In November, 17GS, John Chapman, Richard Chapman, and 
Moredock O. McKensey removed from Culpeper County to the 
Shenandoah, in the Valley of Virginia, and from thence, in 
1771, came to the New River Valley and settled at the mouth 
of Walker's creek, where John Chapman had two dwelling 
houses destroyed by the Indians; his family being forced to flee 
to the Snidow fort for protection. In the spring of 1778 Mc- 
Kensey removed to the mouth of Wolf Creek, where his family, 
in May of that year, was attacked by the Indians, and a portion 
of them killed and another portion carried into captivity. 
Some years afterward, time not definitely known, Richard 
Chapman removed from Walker's Creek to Wolf Creek. 

The children of John Chapman were Isaac, who married 
Elian Jolmston ; George, who married Patience Clay; John, 
who married INIiss Napier; Henley, who married Mary Alex- 

(1). McKensey died on Five Mile Fork of East River, in the year 


The Chapmans. 391 

ander; Sallie, who married, first, Jacob Miller of Franklin 
County, Virginia, and by whom she had a daughter and three 
sons : Jacob, who married Mrs. Polly Harman ; John, who mar- 
ried Sallie Peck; Tobias, who married Elizabeth Bane; Bar- 
bara, who married Morton P. Emmons. After the death of the 
elder Jacob Miller, his widow, Sallie, married David Johnston, 
and they had the following children: Oscar F., who married 
Elizabeth French ; Chapman I., who married Elian C. Snidow ; 
Olivia, Avho married William M. Gillaspie, of Tazewell County, 
Virginia; Louisa A., who married Colonel Daniel H. Pearis, 
of Mercer, and Sallie C, who died unmarried. 

Jemima Chapman married Charles Hall and had the follow- 
ing children: Benjamin, who went to Cook County, Illinois, 
at an early date, and Chloe, who married John Brian. 

Annie Chapman, who married John Lybrook, had a numer- 
ous family, of whom was Philip Lybrook, the father of the 
present Major Samuel E. Lybrook, a great grandson of Philip, 
the settler. 

Isaac Chapman and his wife, Elian Johnston Chapman, had 
the following children : John, a lawyer of distinction and often 
a representative of Giles County in the Senate and House of 
Delegates, who married Ann Freel; Doctor David Johnston 
Chapman, who married Sallie Pepper; William Chapman, who 
married Nancy McDonald; Rachael, who married John Sni- 
dow; Priscilla, who married Doctor Thomas Fowler; Polly, 
who married John Bane; Nancy, who married Joseph Mc- 
Donald; Sallie, who married William Kyle, and Rebecca, who 
married Samuel P. Pearis. 

John Chapman, the son of Isaac, had one daughter, Adeline, 
who married Colonel William H. Snidow, by whom she had 
three children, viz: John C, who married Anne Hoge; James 
P., who married Fannie Hale ; Annie, who married Dr. Harvey 
G. Johnston. 

Doctor David J. Chapman had the following children, viz: 
John, drowned in his youth; William, who married Miss 
Mather ; James, who went west many years ago ; David J., Jr., 

392 New River Settlements 

who now lives in Giles County and is unmarried, and who is 
the only Chapman in Giles County; Annie, who married Col- 
onel James W. English ; Jennie, who married Major Samuel E. 
Lybrook, and Malinda, who married Samuel S. Dinwiddle. 

William Chapman, who married Nancy McDonald, had the 
following children: Isaac E., who married Eliza Gillespie; 
John, who went to Texas and was drowned; Louisa, who mar- 
ried Rev. Mr. Chanceleum; and Keziah, who married Isaac 
Chapman Fowler. 

John Snidow and Rachael, his wife, had the following chil- 
dren : Christian, who married Sylistine Goodrich ; they had 
no children ; James H., who married Elvina Lucas and had the 
following children: John D., William R., Cornelia, who mar- 
ried Eugene Angel, and some daughters who are not married; 
David J. L., who married Malinda Pepper, but left no children ; 
Elizabeth, who married John Tiffany, and had the following 
children: Captain Hugh S., killed in the first battle of Ma- 
nasses; Charles C, who lives in Kansas, and Elizabeth, who 
married Andrew B. Symns; Mary B., who married John S. 
Peck, and had the following children : James P., killed in the 
battle of Cold Harbor in 1864; Hugh T., who lives in the State 
of Maryland; Chapman L, who lives in Giles County; John, 
who died a few years ago; Annie, who married John P. Peck; 
Elizabeth, who married Harvey Snidow, and Eliza, who mar- 
ried Williams. 

Elian Chapman Snidow, who married Chapman I. Johnston, 
had the following children : David Andrew, John Raleigh, 
Sarah Ellen, who married Honorable William A. French ; An- 
nie C, who married Charles D. French; Rachael S., who is 

now dead, and who first married Daugherty, and 

secondly Joseph Alvis. Ellen J. Snidow, daughter of John and 
Rachael Chapman Snidow, is unmarried. 

Samuel P. Pearls and Rebecca Chapman Pearls, his wife, had 
three children: Dr. Robert A., who married Amanda Fowler; 
Dr. Charles W., who married Electra Pearls; and Rebecca, 
who married Honorable Frank Hereford. 

The Chapmans. 393 

The children of Joseph McDonald and Nancy Chapman Mc- 
Donald, his wife, were W. W. McDonald, of Logan; John C. 
McDonald, Isaac E. McDonald, Lewis McDonald, Floyd Mc- 
Donald; Sallie, who married John Sanders; Nancy, who mar- 
ried Lewis McDonald ; Elizabeth, who married John Anderson ; 
John C, Isaac E. and Floyd, who died unmarried. 

Dr. Thomas Fowler and wife had the following children: 
Thomas, Isaac C, Allen, Elbert; Mary, who married Captain 
James D. Johnston; and Amanda, who married Dr. Robert A. 

Henley Chapman and his wife, Mary Alexander Chapman, 
had two sons and three daughters. The sons were General 
Augustus A. Chapman, who married Mary R. Bierne, and 
Manilius, who married Susan Bierne; the daughters, Araminta 
D., married Captain Guy D. French; Elvina married Colonel 
Albert G. Pendleton, and Isabella married Major William P. 

John Chapman, son of the settler, and brother to Isaac, 
George, and Henley, married Miss Napier; was killed by a 
horse, and his widow and children removed to Cabell County 
about the year of 1800, where his descendants now reside. 
Captain John Chapman, who was a son of Andrew Johnston 
Chapman, son of the above John, was a distinguished Con- 
federate soldier, and died only a few years ago at his home in 
Lincoln County, West Virginia. 

Colonel Albert G. Pendleton and his wife, Elvina Chapman 
Pendleton, had three children: Nannie, who married Judge 
Philip W. Strother; Sallie, who married Van B. Taliaferro, 
and Alberta, who married Samuel Crockett. 

Major William P. Cecil and his wife Isabella Chapman Cecil, 
had one child, Mary, who married Charles Painter. 

Captain Guy D. French and wife, Araminta Chapman 
French, had four sons: Henley C, who married Harriet Eas- 
ley; Captain David A., who married, first Miss Williams, sec- 
ond Miss Jennie C. Easley; William A., who married Nellie 
Johnston; Charles D., who married Annie C. Johnston; they 

3J)-i: New River Settlements 

had daughters Sarah M., who first married Dr. W. W. Mc- 
Comas, second, Captain F, G. Tlirasher; Mary, who married 
William B. Mason; Fannie, who married J. H, D. Smoot, and 
Susan, who married Dr. R. T. Ellett. 

John Chapman, son of Richard, married Jemima, a daughter 
of the Eider David Johnston, and they had a daughter who 
married William Wilburn, of Sugar Run; and James H. Wll- 
burn, whose photograph appears opposite this page, is a grand 
son of the said John Chapman, and a great grandson of the 
first William Wilburn, who came in 1780 to what is now Giles 
County, Virginia. 

James W. Chapman, a grandson of John, of Wolf Creek, is 
the only descendant of John Chapman bearing that name who 
now resides in this section of the country ; the remaining mem- 
bers of the Richard Chapman family went at an early date to 
the liig Sandy and Eastern Kentucky region, some of them 
removing to the State of Ohio. Some of the descendants of 
Richard Chapman still reside in the counties of Lincoln, Logan, 
Mingo, and Wayne, West Virginia. 

The Elder John Chapman, and his son, Isaac, were soldiers 
during the Indian wars on the border, and were stationed dur- 
ing the years of 1774 to 1779 in Snidow's, Hatfield's, and 
Barger's forts. 

The family of George Chapman, who married Patience Clay, 
consisted of three daughters and two sons. Sallie Chapman 
married Hugh Jordan, Elizabeth Chapman married Joseph 
Peck, and Lucretia Chapman married William McClure; the 
sons, Isaac and Archer, went to the state of Ohio at an early 
day. Opposite page 396 is presented the photograph of the 
dwelling house built by George Chapman, in 1794, on the East 
Bank of New River, near Ripplemeade, Virginia, and which 
house still stands and is on land now the property of Mr. Har- 
vey I'hlegar and Mr. H. B. Shelton. 

Grandson of the Settler. 

The Christian Family. 395 

THE christian FAMILY. 

This family came from the Isle of Man, and as early as 1732 
Gilbert Christian, with his family, removed from Pennsylvania, 
where they lived in 1726, to a point near where Staunton, Vir- 
ginia, now stands, and on a creek to which they gave their 
name. The family of Gilbert Christian, which consisted of him- 
self, wife, three sons, John, Robert, William, and a daughter, 
Mary, became near neighbors of the celebrated Lewis family. 

Captain Israel Christian settled in the Valley in 1740, where 
he married Miss Elizabeth Starke; removing later to what is 
now Botetourt County, he gave the land for the town of Fin- 
castle, and still later he came across the Alleghanies, and set- 
tled on the New River, near Ingles' ferry. The town of Chris- 
tiansburg was named from him. His son. Colonel William, was 
born near Staunton, in 1743 ; he married Anne, a sister of 
Patrick Henry. He was long a prominent figure on the border ; 
representing the New River Valley district in the State Senate 
in 1781; was the Colonel and Commandant of the Fincastle 
troops, and led a regiment from that county to the battle of 
Point Pleasant, in October, 1774. Only two companies of his 
regiment participated in the battle; the remainder, with Col- 
onel Christian, were in charge of the supplies for the army of 
General Lewis. Colonel Christian, with a few men, in pursu- 
ing a marauding band of Indians across the Ohio, was, on the 
9th day of April, 1786, killed on the spot whereon now stands 
Jeffersonville, Indiana. 

A part of the same Christian family from near Staunton, in 
the Valley, settled on East River, in what is now Mercer 
County, in 1780. Some of these people served with great dis- 
tinction on the Confederate side in our civil war. 


The Cecils crossed over to England with William the Nor- 
man ; and the family in the United States is said to be of the 
Lord Baltimore stock (Calverts), descendants of Sir William 

396 New Kiver Settlements 

Cecil, of England (Lord Burleigh). Samuel W. Cecil and his 
two brothers came to America in 1700, and settled in Mary- 

Samuel W. married Rebecca White in Maryland, about 1750, 
and removed to the New River Valley in what is now Pulaski 
County in about 17G0, He died in 1785 and his wife in 1815. 
They left a family of seven sons and three daughters. The 
sons, William, born in 1752, married Nancy Witten, and set- 
tled in Tazewell; Thomas, born in 1755, married Nancy Gray- 
son, and went to Ohio; James married Miss Wysor; Benjamin 
married Priscilla Baylor and went to Kentucky; Zechariah 
married Miss Mitchell, and went to Kentucky ; Samuel married 
Mary Ingram, and went to Missouri; Rebecca married James 
Witten, of Tazewell ; Malinda married Samuel Mitchell ; 
Eleanor married Thomas Witten, of Tazewell. 

Zechariah Cecil, son of Samuel W., married Julia Howe, 
daughter of Major Daniel Howe, from whom Daniel R. Cecil, 
of Giles County, Virginia, descends, and who married Ardelia 
Pearis, granddaughter of Colonel George Pearis, a soldier of 
the American Revolution, and first settler where Pearisburg 
station, N. & W. Ry. Co., is now situated. 


The Clays of Virginia and Kentucky, the descendants of their 
English ancestry by that name, emigrated to America and set- 
tled in Virginia prior to the American Revolution. One 
brother, the father of Henry Clay, of Kentucky, a Baptist min- 
ister, settled in the Slashes of Hanover; one, the ancestor of 
General Greene Clay, settled in Powhatan, and was the an- 
cestor of General Oden G. Clay of Campbell County, Virginia. 
The one who settled in Franklin County was the ancestor of 
the elder Mitchell Clay, who came from Franklin to the Clover 
Bottom on the Bluestone, in 1775. 

Mitchell Clay married in Franklin County, Virginia, in the 
year of 1760, Pho-be Belcher. In April, 1774, there was granted 

^/ \ I 

**■■ — 


Near Ripplemead, Va., built in 1794. 

The Clay Family. 397 

by Dunniore, the Royal Governor of Virginia, to Mitchell Clay, 
assignee of Lieutenant John Draper, 800 acres of land on Blue- 
stone Creek, Clover Bottoms, then Fincastle County, Virginia, 
now Mercer County. By the terms of this grant Clay was re- 
quired to take possesion of this land within three years, clear 
so much per year, and render so much ground rent to the King 
of Great Britain. A copy of this grant is on file in the Clerk's 
office of Mercer County Court. In payment for this tract of 
land. Clay gave Draper a negro woman and her children, execut- 
ing to him therefor a bill of sale. Many years afterward, and 
after the death of Mitchell Clay, which occurred in 1812, this 
trade gave rise to two interesting law suits; one, by the negro 
woman and her children against Draper or his representatives 
for their freedom, which they succeeded in establishing; and 
thereupon the representatives of Draper sued the executors of 
Clay and their sureties, recovering a large decree against them, 
resulting in the bankrupting of Captain William Smith and the 
estate of Colonel George N. Pearls, sureties of the executors of 

Mitchell Clay and his wife had fourteen children, seven sons 
and seven daughters. The sons were Mitchell, Henry, Charles, 
William, David, Bartley, and Ezekiel, the latter captured and 
Bartley killed by the Indians on Bluestone, in 1783. The 
daughters were Rebecca, who married Colonel George Pearis; 
Patience, who married George Chapman; Sallie, who married 
Captain John Peters, a soldier of the war of 1812; Obedience, 
who married John French, a soldier of the American Revolu- 
tion; Nannie, who married Joseph Hare, also a soldier of the 
American Revolution; Mary, who married William Stewart, 
and Tabitha, who was killed by the Indians on Bluestone, in 

From Rebecca, who married Colonel George Pearis, descend- 
ed the family of Pearis of the New River Valley. From George 
Chapman and wife descended a numerous progeny, of whom 
Sallie married Hugh Jordan, of Giles County. From Mrs. 
Peters descended a large part of the family of that name now 

398 New River Settlements 

living in the New River Valley. From Mrs. French descended 
a numerous posterity, and among her descendants is Colonel 
James ^I. French, a distinguished lawyer and one of the brav- 
est soldiers that drew his sword for Virginia in our civil war. 
Mrs. Hare left no living descendants. Mrs. Stewart left a large 
number of descendants, manj^ of whom are among the most 
respectable and prominent citizens of the county of Wyoming 
and adjacent territory. 

After the destruction, in part, of the family of Mitchell Clay, 
on Bluestone, he removed to New River, purchased a farm 
which is now owned in part by Mr. J. Raleigh Johnston, oppo- 
site Pearisburg station on N. & W. Ry. Co.'s railway line, and 
upon which he erected a dwelling house in 1783, which is still 
standing, a photograph of which will be seen opposite this 


This family were Protestant Irish people, and some of that 
name were in the seige of Londondary in 1689. Some portion 
of the family emigrated to America, long prior to the Revolu- 
tion, and settled in Pennsylvania, where David Cloyd married 
Margaret Campbell, and from thence removed to James River, 
in the now county of Botetourt, where, in March, 17G4, Mrs. 
Clo3'd and her son John were killed by the Indians; Joseph, 
another son, on tlie day of the killing of his mother and brother, 
was working in the field, and the Indians, by a ruse, succeeded 
in getting between him and the house. Perceiving that they 
were Indians that had attacked the house, he ran to a neighbor 
for aid, hastening back only to find that his mother had been 
tomahawked and his brother killed. 

Joseph Cloyd in about 1774 or 1775, when quite a young man, 
came with Colonel William Preston to the Draper's Meadows 
settlement. He subsequently married Miss Mary Gordon, and 
it is said, at her request, built a brick church near where Dublin, 
Virginia, is now situated, being the first church building erected 


Built in the Fall of 1785. 

The Cloyd Family. 399 

west of the Alleghany mountains. Mary, a sister of Joseph 
Cloyd, married James McGavock. The children of Joseph 
Clovd were David, Gordon and Thomas. David married Sarah 
McGavock, Gordon married Betsie McGavock, and Thomas 
married Mary McGaVock. Joseph Cloyd, the elder, became 
possessed of a very large and valuable estate on Back Creek, 
now in Pulaski County, a portion of which is now owned and 
possessed by his great-grandson, David Cloyd. Joseph Cloyd 
was a soldier in the American army during the Revolution, and 
Major of the Montgomery County militia. In the year of 1780 
there was a great tory uprising in the northern counties of 
North Carolina, consequent upon the advance of the British 
army into that state in October of that year. Major Cloyd 
raised three companies of horsemen, among them one com- 
manded by Captain George Pearis, and marched to the Shallow 
Ford of the Yadkin, being joined on his way by some North 
Carolina companies, raising his force to 160 men. On the 14th 
day of October he fought a severe battle with the Tories at the 
Shallow Ford, in which he defeated them with a loss on their 
part of 15 killed, and four found wounded and left on the field ; 
on the American side Captain Pearis and four privates were 

General Greene was retreating before the British army and 
was hard pressed, and not only called on the Governor of Vir- 
ginia for aid, but wrote letters to Colonels William Preston, 
William Campbell, Evan Shelby, and John Sevier for help. On 
the 10th day of February, 1781, Colonel William Preston 
ordered the assembling of the militia of Montgomery County 
at the Lead Mines, and on the 18th day of February he marched 
with Major Joseph Cloyd, at the head of 350 horsemen, and 
joined General Greene near Hillsboro, North Carolina, and was 
ordered to report to General Pickens, then in command of Gen- 
eral Greene's left wing, operating on the Haw and Deep Rivers. 
Preston marched to join General Pickens, but lost his way and 
camped the night preceding his joining Pickens between the out- 
posts of the two armies, almost within musket range of the 

400 New River Settlements 

British pickets. On the 2nd day of March a part of Preston's 
men were engaged with Lee's cavalry in a brisk skirmish with 
the British outposts, in which the British came off second best, 
losing about thirty killed and wounded, the Americans losing 
but few men. On the 5th of March Preston proceeded across 
the country to Wetzell's (Whitsell's) Mills, where on the 6th 
a severe battle was fought with a portion of the British army 
commanded by Lord Cornwallis, the Americans being com- 
manded by Generals Pickens and Williams. In this battle 
Preston's men took a prominent part and fought bravely and 
gallantly, but were finally forced to yield the field to the Brit- 
ish. Near the close of the engagement Colonel Preston's horse 
took fright and ran with him into and across a mill pond in 
the very face of the British. He finally threw Colonel Preston, 
who made his escape into the American lines just as the retreat 
began, and being a very heavy, fleshy man, was unable to keep 
up with the retreating army, whereupon Major Joseph Cloyd 
dismounted and gave him his horse. Colonel Preston being in- 
jured by the fall from his horse, his troops were placed under 
the command of Colonel William Campbell. The retreat con- 
tinued until the forces engaged at Wetzell's Mills had reached 
Guilford Court House, where on the 15th of March the battle 
between General Greene's army and that of Lord Cornwallis 
was fought, resulting in the defeat of the Americans. In the 
battle of Guilford Court House Preston's men, under Colonel 
William Campbell, occupied the extreme left, which was as- 
sailed by the British infantry and cavalry under Colonel Tarle- 
ton, who in his book entitled ''Southern Campaigns, 1780-81," 
says: "That the backwoodsmen stood their ground until the 
British infantry pushed them off the field, and that the great- 
est injury done to the British in that battle was by the Vir- 
ginia backwoodsmen." 

On receiving information at the Davidson-Bailey fort of the 
massacre of Captain James Moore and his family, in Abb's 
Valley, by the Indians, on July 14th, 178G, a messenger was 
at once dispatched to Major Cloyd, who immediately gathered 

The Davidson Family. 401 

a body of men and marched to the Valley, reaching there, how- 
ever, two days after the Indians had departed with their booty 
and prisoners, and too late to overtake them . 

Major Joseph Cloyd was a representative from Montgomery 
County in the Legislature of Virginia in the year of 1788, and 
his son, General Gordon Cloyd, was a member of the Constitu- 
tional convention of Virginia, 1829-30; and his grandsons. 
Major Joseph Cloyd and Mr. James M. Cloyd, were prominent 
citizens of Pulaski County. 


John Goolman Davidson, born in Dublin, Ireland, a cooper 
by trade, came to America about 1755, and settled in Beverly 
Manor, in what was then Augusta County. Subsequently he 
removed with his family to the Draper-Meadow's settlement, 
and from thence in the year of 1780, he removed and located 
at the head of Beaver Pond Creek, in what was then Mont- 
gomery County, Virginia, now Mercer County, West Virginia. 
During the same year he was joined by Richard Bailey and 
family, and they erected a block house, or fort, a short distance 
below the head of Beaver Pond Springs. From John Goolman 
Davidson has descended all of the people of that name now in 
this and the adjoining counties. A portion of the city of Blue- 
field is built on lands formerly the property of Mr. Davidson. 
His descendants, or quite a number of them, have been promi- 
nent in civil affairs in the counties of Mercer and Tazewell. 
Honorable A. C. Davidson (1), of Mercer County, is a great 
great grandson of John Goolman Davidson. 


James Emmons (2), the ancestor of the New River and Giles 
County family of that name, was an American soldier, as shown 

(1). Died December 19, 1905. 

(2). This family is reputed to be of Sweedish origin. 

402 New River Settlements 

by his declaration for a pension made in 1832. He enlisted in 
the County of Fauquier, and served under General Daniel 
Morgan in his Southern campaign; was in the battle of the 
Cowpens, and in many skirmishes in the Carolinas. In 1781 
he substituted for his brother William and went in his place 
to Yorktown, was in that battle and after its close guarded 
the British prisoners who were there taken, to Winchester, 
Virginia. At the close of the war he removed with his family, 
and with Charles Duncan and others, to Stokes County, North 
Carolina, and from thence to the New River Valley about 1795, 
where his son, Morton P. Emmons, intermarried with Barbara 
Miller, the daughter of Jacob and his wife, Sallie Chapman 
Miller. All of the people of the New River Valley of the name 
of Emmons descended from James Emmons. Morton R., who 
resides in Bluefield, West Virginia, is a great-grandson of the 
said James, as well also as Morton Emmons, of Atlanta, 


The ancestors of this family lived in Scotland, thence re- 
moved to Wales, and from thence, long prior to the American 
Revolution, came across the Atlantic and settled in the North- 
ern Neck of Virginia — Westmoreland County, within the grant 
to Lord Fairfax. It was in Westmoreland, about 1735, that 
John French married a lady of Welsh extraction. Among the 
children born to them was a son, Matthew, in 1737. Settlers 
were pressing across the Blue Ridge and on to the south branch 
of the Potomac, and on and along the Big and Little Cacapon. 
As information came back from these people of the wonderland 
they had found, others became interested and made up their 
minds to go ; among them John French and his family, in about 
1750, made their way up the Rappahannock and over to the 
south branch of the Potomac, locating at a place since well 
known as French's Neck, a beautiful and valuable body of land 
on the south branch of the river mentioned. John lived but a 

The Frenches. 403 

short while after reaching his new home, and his widow shortly 
after his death married Captain Cresap. The district in which 
John French settled soon became the County of Hampshire. 
There were several sons in the family other than Matthew, 
among them William and James, and a daughter Esther, who 
married John Locke. 

Matthew and his step-father soon had differences of such a 
nature as to lead to their estrangement and separation; 
Matthew, who had not yet attained his majority, sold out his 
interest in his father's estate to his stepfather, Captain Cresap, 
and went back over the mountains to Culpeper, where he 
married an Irish girl whose name was Sallie Payne. In 1775 
Matthew, with his wife and seven children, four sons and three 
daughters, crossed the Alleghanies into the New River Valley, 
and settled at what is now known or called the Boyd place, 
on Wolf Creek, in Giles County, then Fincastle. The names of 
the sons of Matthew were John, Isaac, James, and David ; the 
latter, the youngest child, was born in Culpeper in 1772; the 
daughters were Martha, Mary and Annie. John, the son of 
Matthew, married Obedience Clay in January, 1787; Isaac 
married Elizabeth Stowers for his first wife; his second was 
a Mrs. Fillinger; James married Susan Hughes, a half sister 
to the elder William Wilburn; his second wife was Margaret 
Day; David married Mary Dingess. 

Martha, the daughter of Matthew, married Jacob Straley; 
Mary married Isaac Hatfield; Annie married General Elisha 

The following are the names of the children of John French 
and his wife Obedience Clay French, viz: William, Ezekiel, 
Charles C, James, George P., John, St. Clair, Hugh and Austin, 
and the daughters, Annie, Sallie, Orrie, Obedience, Nancy and 

Isaac French and his wife, Elizabeth Stowers French, had 
the following named children, viz: Sallie, Elizabeth, Docey, 
and Isaac. 

The children of James French, by his first marriage, were 

404 New River Settlements 

three sons, Isaac, Reuben, and Andrew; and five daughters, 
Mary, who married Daniel Straley; Sallie, who married Wil- 
liam Hare ; Elizabeth, who married James Rowland ; Isaac 
married Sallie Straley; Reuben married Miss Meadows, and 
Andrew L. married Miss Day ; and by the second marriage 
James had two daughters, Esther Locke, who married Kinzie 
Rowland, and Martha, who married William Milan. 

The names of the children of David French and his wife, 
Mary Dingess French, are as follows, viz: Guy D., who mar- 
ried Araminta D. Chapman ; Napoleon B,, who married Jane 
Armstrong; Dr. David M., who married Miss Smoot, of Alex- 
andria, Virginia; Rufus A., William H., and James H., who 
died unmarried ; the daughters, Cynthia, who married Judge 
David McComas; Harriet, who married Samuel Pack; Minerva, 
who married Colonel Thomas J. Boyd. 

Matthew French died on Wolf Creek, in Giles County, in 
1814. Mrs. Sallie Fletcher, a grand daughter of Matthew 
French, and 95 years old in 1892, gave to the author in w^riting 
a personal description of Matthew French and his wife, whom 
she well recollected, being a married woman and about seven- 
teen years old at the date of the death of her grandfather. Mrs. 
Fletcher says: "Matthew French was a small, spare made 
man, light hair and blue eyes; his wife was a very large woman, 
quite fleshy, fair complexion, light hair and blue eyes." 

Matthew French and his eldest son, John, were American 
soldiers in our war for independence, and served in Colonel 
William Preston's battalion of Montgomery County militia, 
of which Joseph Cloyd was Major, and Thomas Shannon the 
Captain of the company to which the Frenches were attached. 
They were with their company in the battle of Wetzell's Mills, 
March 6th, 1781, and again at Guilford Court House, on the 
15th of the same month. 

The names of the children of Guy D. French and his wife, 
Araminta D., are as follows, viz: Henley C, who married 
Miss Harriet Easley (both now dead) ; Mary, who married 
William B. Mason (both now dead) ; Fannie, who married 


Great grandson of Matthew French. 

The Gillespies^ 405 

J. H. D. Smoot (the latter dead) ; Sarah, who first married Dr. 
W. W. McComas (killed in battle of South Mills), and secondly 
married Captain F. G. Thrasher; Susan, who married Dr. R. T. 
Ellett (the latter dead). 

Captain David A. French first married Miss Williams, for 
his second wife Jennie C. Easley; William A. married Sarah 
E, Johnston; Charles D. married Annie C. Johnston. Opposite 
this page is the photograph of Hon. William A. French, a great 
grandson of Matthew the Settler. William A. died in April, 

The descendants of Matthew French are scattered far and 
wide over the South and West. Among them were many bril- 
liant men and women ; the men have been magistrates, sheriffs, 
clerks, lawyers, judges, statesmen and soldiers. David Mc- 
Comas, one of the descendants of Matthew French, was an 
eminent jurist; William McComas, another, w^as a member of 
Congress from 1833 to 1837; Dr. W. W. McComas was a dis- 
tinguished physician and gallant Confederate soldier; Colonel 
James Milton French, now of Arizona, served his country with 
devotion and honor both in military and civil life. 


These people are the descendants of Scottish ancestors who 
came to America prior to our war for independence, and set- 
tled first in Pennsylvania, and then removed to western North 
Carolina, from whence they traveled westward over the moun- 
tains into what is now the State of Tennessee, from which came 
the immediate progenitors of the family to the Clinch Valley 
section, about 1794. The Gillespies were quite a distinguished 
people in Scotland, especially in the affairs of church ; the Rev. 
Thomas Gillespie, a Presbyterian minister of Scotland, is men- 
tioned as being prominent in the affairs of his church in 1752. 

Gillespies' Gap is a well known pass in the Blue Ridge, in 
North Carolina; and Haywood, in his Civil and Political His- 
tory of Tennessee, at pp. 196-7, mentions a Captain Gillespie 

40G New River Settlements 

as serving under Colonel John Sevier in 1779 in the Indian 
wars in that state, mentioning an incident in connection with 
this Cax)tain Gillespie, which shows him to have been a man of 
great personal courage, firmness and magnanimity. It appears 
from information furnished the author by the Honorable Albert 
I*. Gillespie, of Tazewell, that two brothers, James and Thomas 
Gillespie, came from the Cumberland country in Tennessee, 
about 1794, and that James settled near Chatham Hill, in what 
is now Smyth County, and that some of his descendants still 
reside in that section, and some are residents of the County of 
Tazewell. Thomas Gillespie is the ancestor of the larger part 
of the family of tliat name in Tazewell County, and he left the 
following sons: John, Rees, B., Henry, ^yilliam and Robert; 
and daughters, one married James Harrison, and another mar- 
ried a Mr. Thompson. 

William M. Gillespie, sou of the preceding William, married 
Olivia Johnston, of Giles County (he and his wife are both 
now dead), and they had the following children, viz : David J., 
who married Elizabeth Sanders; Joseph S., who married Mary 
Higginbotham ; Albert P., who married Nannie Higginbotham ; 
and daughters, Sarah, who married Clinton Barnes; Margaret, 
who married Colonel Joseph Harrison ; Mary, who married 
Oscar Barnes, and Ella, who married Dr. J. L. Painter. The 
daughter of Thomas Gillespie, who married Jame« Harrison, 
was the mother of Colonel Joseph Harrison, now living near 
Tazewell, Virginia. 


This family is of English origin, descendants of the Hales 
of Kent. The first American emigrant of the name coming in 
1032, bore the coat of arms of the Kentish Hales — three broad 
arrows, feather white on a red field. The traditional story in 
the family of these New River Hales is, that the family was 
quite numerous in Massachusetts and Connecticut, and that 
some time prior to the beginning of our war for independence 






1 1 






Great Grandson of Capt. Edward Hale, the Settler. 

The Hales. 407 

there were in one family of this name seven brothers, all of 
whom joined the American army ; a part of them served through 
the war under General Washington in and around Boston, in 
the Jerseys and in Pennsylvania ; that one of the older brothers, 
who had a family, drifted south to Virginia some years prior 
to the beginning of the Revolution, and located in what is now 
Franklin County, Virginia; that this settler had a son Edward, 
who served in the American army in the early period of the 
Revolution, and later, in 1779, came across the Alleghanies into 
the New River Valley, and later married a Miss Patsy Perdue 
and settled on Wolf Creek. Edward Hale was born about 1750, 
was a man of rather small stature, fair complexion and blue 
eyes, was a man of information and intelligence, and became a 
prominent figure on the border in his day, engaging in the 
Indian wars, fights and skirmishes. He was with the party 
under Captain Matthew Farley, that followed the Indians in 
the summer of 1783, after their attack on Mitchell Clay's 
family, on the Bluestone at Clover bottom, and was in the 
skirmish had with a part of these Indians on Pond Fork of 
Little Coal river, in which he killed an Indian at the first fire. 
From the back of this Indian, killed by Edward Hale, William 
Wiley, who was in the party of pursuers, took a strip of the 
Indian's hide, which he gave to Hale and was used by him and 
a number of his family for many years as a razor strop. Op- 
posite this ijage is the photograph of Dr. James W. Hale, a 
descendant of the Captain Edward Hale above mentioned, 

Edward Hale marched with Captain Shannon's company to 
North Carolina, in February, 1781, and was in the engagement 
at Wetzell's Mills, on the 6th day of March, and at Guilford 
Court House on the 15th day of the same month. In 1785 Ed- 
ward Hale married Miss Patsy Perdue, a daughter of Uriah 
Perdue, then recently removed from what is now Franklin 
County, Virginia. Mrs. Hale was a sister of the wife of the 
elder Joseh Hare. The names of the children of Edward Hale 
and his wife are as follows, viz: Thomas, Isaiah, Charles, 
Jesse, Isaac, Daniel, Elias and William; and the daughters, 

408 New River Settlements 

Mary aud Phwbe. Thomas inari-ied Miss Lucas, Isaiah married 
Margaret Lucas, Isaac married ^liss Lucas, Jesse married Mar- 
garet Watts, Daniel married Elizabeth Watts, Elias married 
Nancy Peters, William married Miss Williams; Mary married 
John Williams, and they moved to the state of Missouri, and 
Phoebe married John McClaugherty, son of James. 

Thomas Hale had sons, Charles, Edward, Lorenzo D., Green, 
Thomas, and Ralph ; daughters, Priscilla, who married William 
H. French; Martha, who married, first, David F. Alvis, second 
William Shannon ; Rhoda, who never married. 

Isaac had one son, Daniel P. ; daughters, Eliza, who mar- 
ried Captain James F. Hare; Martha, who married Russell G. 
French; Miriam, who married Isaac H. Day; Mary, who mar- 
ried Charles E. Hale; Sarah, who married, first, Rufus Brown, 
second, Luke Wells; Daniel P., married Martha Shumate. 

Daniel had sons, Thomas, Charles E., John A., and Daniel 
F., and daughters, Elizabeth, who married William Shumate ; 
Paulina, who married C. W. Tolley ; Linney, who married R. G. 
Rowland; Cornelia, who married William Brown. 

Charles had sons, John D., William H., and Isaac (the latter 
died young) ; daughters, Hulda, who married Andrew Fill- 
inger; Martha, who married John Walker. 

Isaiah had sons, Erastus (who died young), Luther C, who 
married Miss Alice Peck; the daughters, Charlotte married 
William Moser, Louisa married Jacob Snidow, Juliana married 
Wolf Crotching, Virginia married James Kinzie, Wilmoth mar- 
ried Andrew J. Hare. Isaiah Hale married a second wife, Mrs. 
Sallie Lybrook, whose maiden name was Hall ; they had daugh- 
ters, Lizzie, who married George Spangler; Sallie L., who mar- 
ried J. Harvey Dunn, and the son, Luther C, above mentioned. 

Jesse had sons, Hamilton J. (died during the civil war), Ed- 
ward C, who lives in Giles County; daughters, Julia, who mar- 
ried Pettyjohn; Martha, who died unmarried; Mary, 

who married David French; Eglentine, who married Henry W. 
Broderick (both dead) ; Newtonia, who married Erastus W. 

The Hales. 409 

For want of correct and sufficient information the names of 
the children of William Hale and his sister, Mrs. Williams 
(both of whom died in Missouri) cannot be given in this work. 

The children of Elias Hale and his wife, Nancy Peters Hale, 
are as follows, viz : John E., who married Miss Moore ; Charles 
A., who married Miss Bailey; Captain Rufus A., who married 

Julia Baile}^ ; Comrad married ; daughters, Mary, 

who married Calvin Harry; Ardelia, who married John T. 
Carr; Julia, who died unmarried. 

Edward Hale died about 1820, and his descendants are among 
the most valued citizens of the country; they have occupied 
prominent and important positions in the civil and military 
affairs of the district of country in which they have lived. They 
have been farmers, physicians, lawyers, merchants, magistrates, 
members of the Legislature and judges. As soldiers they have 
always been the equals of any that the country has sent forth ; 
they fought, bled and died on nearly every important battlefield 
of our civil war. Dr. James W. Hale — formerly a distinguished 
physician — now an able lawyer, residing at Princeton, West 
Virginia, was a valiant Confederate soldier in the Civil war, los- 
ing an arm at the battle of Piedmont, Virginia, June 5th, 1864. 
He is a great-grandson of Edward Hale. Edward McClaugh- 
erty, another great-grandson of Edward Hale, was a lieutenant 
in Company A, 17th Virginia regiment of cavalry, and died in 
the service. Honorable Robert C. McClaugherty, also a great- 
grandson of Edward Hale, is a prominent lawyer residing at 
Bluefield, West Virginia. He served four years as Prosecuting 
Attorney of Mercer County, and eight years as Judge of the 
9th Judicial Circuit of West Virginia. The late Captain Rufus 
A. Hale, of Mercer County, was one of the bravest men in his 
regiment, serving throughout the war 1861-5 with distinction, 
and was more than once commended by his superior officers for 
his gallantry and good conduct on the battlefield. Charles A. 
Hale, a brother of Captain Rufus A., was a highly reputable 
citizen, made a good record and name as a valiant soldier of 
the 8th Virginia regiment of cavalry. 

410 New River Settlements 

James Perdue, who died in Mercer County in 1900, at the age 
of one hundred and one years, was a relative of Captain Edward 

JOSEPH HARE^ the huguenot. 

The ancestors of Joseph Hare left France in the days of the 
fearful religious persecution, and sought refuge for a short 
time in the Barbadoes, from which, about 1710, they came to 
South Carolina, where the family remained a number of years, 
and thence traveled northward until it reached the southern 
border of the State of North Carolina, not far from the present 
city of Fayetteville. The breaking out of the American Revo- 
lution found in this family eight boys and three girls, all born 
in South Carolina, among them Joseph, who was born in 1749. 
The great tory or Loyalist uprising in the spring of 1776, in 
the neighborhood of Fayetteville, North Carolina, under the 
leadership of General McDonald, brought the patriot forces of 
that section together under Colonel Richard Caswell, to whose 
command Joseph Hare had attached himself. Colonel Caswell, 
learning that this body of Loyalists, 1500 strong, was preparing 
to march to Wilmington and would on their route have to cross 
Moore's Creek bridge, repaired thither with his troops, and 
prepared for action, which took place on February 27th, 1776, 
resulting in the complete overthrow and defeat of the Loyalists 
army, and the killing and capturing of a large number, includ- 
ing their commander. 

After the term of service of Joseph Hare had expired he 
came, in the year of 1779, to the New River Valley, and finally 
settled on Wolf Oeek, in what is now the County of Giles. He 
became a very distinguished Indian fighter, spy and scout, and 
was in many of the skirmishes along the border, between 1779 
and 1794, among them the skirmish with the Indians on Pond 
Fork of Little Coal river in the summer or early fall of 1783, 
in which several of the Indians were slain. The Indians killed 
in this action were a part of the band that had a few days previ- 

Great Grandson of Joseph Hare, the Settler. 

Joseph Hare. 411 

ously attacked the family of Mitchell Clay, at Clover bottom, 
on the Bhiestone, killing a son and daughter of Clay, and carry- 
ing away as a prisoner his yonng son Ezekiel. Joseph Hare 
was a member of Captain Thomas Shannon's company, with 
which he marched to the state of North Carolina in February, 
1781, and with his company participated in the action of Wet- 
zell's Mills on the 6th day of March, and on the 15th of the 
same month in the battle of Guilford Court House. In April, 
1789, he married Nannie Clay, a daughter of Mitchell Clay and 
his wife, Phoebe Belcher Clay, by whom he had two children, 
who, together with the mother, died young. He then married 
Phoebe Perdue, a daughter of Uriah Perdue, then lately re- 
moved from the County of Franklin. This Perdue family was 
of French extraction, and possessed of all the eccentricities, 
peculiarities and nervousness of their French ancestry. Joseph 
Hare had by his second marriage but one child, a son, William 
H., who married Sallie French, a daughter of James French 
and his wife Susan Hughes French. 

William H. Hare and his wife had the following named chil- 
dren : Joseph, who married Julia A. Duncan ; Andrew J., who 
married Wilmoth Hale; James F., who married Eliza Hale; 
Isaac, who first married Miss Rowland, second, Miss Kirk; 
William H., who married Miss Lambert; John D., who died 
unmarried ; and daughters, Phoebe, who married Rev. Elisha G. 
Duncan; Susannah, who married James W. Rowland, and Sal- 
lie, who married William P. Shumate. The elder Joseph Hare 
died in 1855, at the age of one hundred and five years. 

Dr. Joseph H. Hare, a prominent physician of the city of 
Bluefield, is a great-grandson of the elder Joseph Hare, and 
his photograph will be seen on the page facing this. The 
descendants of Joseph Hare were bold and determined soldiers, 
among them Captain James F. Hare led a company in the 36th 
Virginia regiment of infantry. Hamilton, a son of the younger 
Joseph Hare, and a brother of Dr. Joseph H. Hare, was killed 
in the battle of Piedmont, Virginia, June 5th, 1864. 

412 New River Settlements 

the hoges. 

In addition to other sources of information, we gather from 
"Foot's Sketches of Virginia," and from a pamphlet entitled 
"Historical and Genealogical of the Cumberland Valley, Pa.," 
by William H. Egle, M. I)., M. A., the following particulars in 
regard to the early history of the Hoge family. 

William Hoge, the first representative of this family, dis- 
tinguished in church and state, came to America in 1682 ; was 
the son of James Hoge, of Scotland, who lived in Musselburg, 
near Glasgow. On board the Caladonia, the vessel that brought 
him over, there was a family named Hume, consisting of father, 
mother, and daughter; they were Presbyterians, leaving Scot- 
land to avoid persecution. The Humes were from Paisley, 
Scotland, and the father was a Knight and a Baron ; both 
father and mother died during the voyage to America, leaving 
their daughter, Barbara, in charge of young William Hoge, 
who placed her with her relations, the Johnstons, in the city of 
New York, whilst he decided to make his home at Perth Amboy, 
New Jersey, on land owned by a Scotch company, at the head 
of which was Governor Berkeley, and of which he was a mem- 
ber. Subsequently William Hoge returned to New York, mar- 
ried the girl Barbara Hume, who had been his protege, and 
from this rather romantic marriage a long line of distinguished 
men and women have written their names on history's page. 
After the birth of their first son, John, William and his young 
wife made their home for some time in Chester County, Penn- 
sylvania, and John, when grown, married Miss Bowen, 

a Welch woman, and settled about nine miles west of Harris- 
burg and laid out the little village of Hogestown. From this 
marriage sprang a long line of descendants who have fitly 
adorned the history of Pennsylvania, Ohio, and other western 
states, many of our country's most distinguished men being 
numbered among them, but the line is too long to trace these 
descendants, but rather of the father and remainder of the 
children, all of whom came to Virginia about the time John was 
establishing the little village of Hogestown. 

The Hoges. 413 

The children that came with William Hoge to Virginia, in 
1735, were as follows: Solomon, James, William, Alexander, 
George, Zebulon, and Nancy, making their home about three 
miles from Winchester, in Frederick County. In the old grave- 
yard of old Opequon Church — the deed for the land on which 
the church stands was made by William Hoge on February 
14th, 1745 — is buried William Hoge and Barbara, his wife, and 
many of their descendants. The first Pastor of this church was 
Rev. John Hoge, grandson of William, and son of John, his 
eldest eion, who had remained in Pennsylvania. Solomon 
married a Quakeress and was the progenitor of that vast family 
of Hoges in Loudon and other lower Valley and Piedmont 
counties. Alexander was a member of the Constitutional Con- 
vention of Virginia that adopted the Federal Constitution, and 
w^as a member of the first Congress. 

James, the third son, of the descendants of whom this narra- 
tive will especially treat, and who has been said by one in 
writing of him, to be a "man eminent for his clear understand- 
ing, devout fear of God, and the love of the Gospel of Christ," 
was married twice; the name of the first wife was Agnes, the 
second Mary, their maiden names unknown ; the records of 
Frederick County show that he and his wife Agnes join in a 
deed in 1748, and that he and his wife Mary in a deed in 1758. 
He and his wives are buried in old Opequon graveyard, he hav- 
ing died June 2nd, 1795. His first wife, Agnes, gave him two 
sons, John and James, and a daughter, who was the mother of 
General Robert Evans, founder of Evansville, Indiana, and of 
Mattie Evans, one of the captives of Abb's Valley. John, the 
eldest son, becoming dissatisfied with his father's marriage, left 
home and was never definitely heard from afterward, though 
he was supposed to have been killed in Braddock's defeat on 
the Monongahela. 

The younger brother, James, left home a few years after- 
wards to search for his brother John, but after reaching what 
is now Pulaski County, Virginia, gave up the search, and 
stopped with a new found friend, Major Joseph Howe, a gentle- 

414 New River Settlements 

man of English descent, who had several years previous found 
a home in the then mountain wilds. After staying with him 
a short while young James Hoge married his daughter, Eliza- 
beth, in 1763, and they made their home near the father-in-law, 
and this is the old southwestern Virginia Hoge homestead, now 
owned by the late Governor James Hoge Tyler, a great-grand- 
son of the founder. James Hoge was born January 12th, 1742, 
and died April 5th, 1812, seventeen years after the death of 
his father, and is buried in the old Hoge burying ground. James 
Hoge and Elizabeth Howe Hoge, his wife, had five sons and six 
daughters : Joseph, John, Agnes, Martha, General James, 
Sarah, Elizabeth, Mary, Daniel, and William; of the sons 
General James was a man of most marked characteristics, and 
attained very eminent distinction. He was a distinguished 
officer in the war of 1812 ; served his countv and district in the 
Senate and House of Delegates several terms ; was five times 
Presidential Elector for his district on the Democratic ticket. 
He was born July 23rd, 1783, and died July 28th, 1861; is 
buried by the side of his wife, Eleanor Howe Hoge, in the old 
Howe burying ground. His wife was his first cousin. 

Joseph Hoge, the eldest brother, removed to Tennessee, and 
left a large number of descendants in that and other states. 
John and William both lived and died in Pulaski, Virginia, 
and are numerously represented in that and adjoining coun- 
ties. Daniel lived and died in Wise County, Virginia; he has 
descendants in southwest Virginia and some in the South; 
his sons were James, Stafford and Dr. John H. 

To briefly revert to the elder James Hoge, grandfather of 
General James and son of William Hoge and Barbara Hume, 
will state that by his second marriage there was several sons 
and perhaps daughters; the names of three of the sons were, 
Solomon, Edward and Moses, the latter a distinguished min- 
ister, was president of Hampden Sidney College and professor 
in Union Theological Seminary. He died in 1820, July 5th; is 
buried in the church yard of the Third Presbyterian Church, 
Philadelphia. He was the grandfather of the eminent Divine, 

The Howes. 41 ^ 

Rev. Moses D. Hoge, of Richmond, Virginia, whose reputation 
is worldwide, and of the late William J. Hoge, D. D. Their 
father was Rev. Samuel Davies Hoge, who was brother to Rev. 
James Hoge, D. D,. late of Columbus, Ohio, and Rev. John 
Blair Hoge, father of Judge John Blair Hoge, of West Virginia, 


There are difficulties in the way of tracing back this family 
to its English origin. Tradition has to be largely relied upon, 
and this, as presented by different branches of the family, dif- 
fers as to the first of the family that crossed the Atlantic, and 
as to the place of first settlement. One statement is that a 
Joseph How, belonging to a family of that name long domiciled 
in the state of Massachusetts, enlisted and served as a soldier 
in the French and Indian war, in which he was supposed to 
have been lost, but was afterwards found in the New River 
Valley, where later he added the letter "e" to the name, the 
original spelling of the name being How, afterwards Howe. 
How much of this statement is correct cannot be determined. 
The author has chosen to follow copies of the "Howe MSS.," 
furnished him by Honorable J. Hoge Tyler, late Governor of 
Virginia, who is a direct descendant of the Joseph Howe, a 
sketch of whose family here follows : 

The Howe family, not unlike the Hoge family, with which 
it is so nearly related, also commences with a little romantic 
episode in the lives of the first American representatives. 
Joseph Howe, an English gentleman, first cousin of Lord Howe 
and General Wayne of Revolutionary fame, came to America 
in 1737. On board the vessel that brought him over was a 
beautiful and captivating girl by the name of Eleanor Dunbar ; 
the two young people fell in love with each other on the voyage 
and married soon after landing and settled near Boston, Mass., 
from which point they drifted southward and finally settled 
in the rugged regions of southwestern Virginia when the coun- 
try was quite a trackless wilderness. They made their home 

41(5 New Kivbr Settlements 

on Back Creek, as nearly as can be established, in 17o7 or 1758, 
and this old homestead, the scene of many pleasant revelries 
and charming reunions, is still in possession of one of the 
representatives of the family, Mrs. Agnes Howe DeJarnette, a 
great-granddaughter of its founder. Joseph Howe had three 
sons, Joseph, John and Daniel; of Joseph there is nothing 
known, he having left home in early life; John seems to have 
left no family. 

Daniel was an officer in the Revolutionary war, was a man 
of strong mind and high character. He married Nancy Haven 
and had three sons, Joseph H., John Dunbar, and William H. ; 
and seven daughters, Ruth, Julia, Eleanor, Elizabeth, Lucretia, 
Nancy and Luemma. Joseph married Margaret Feely; John 

D. married Sarah Sheppard; William married ^lary Fisher; 
Ruth married Thomas Kirk, and removed to Missouri ; Julia 
married Zecharia Cecil ; Eleanor married General James Hoge ; 
Elizabeth married Colonel George Neeley Pearis; Lucretia 
married Colonel William Thomas; Nancy married Honorable 
Harvey Deskins, and Luemma married Dr. Jackson. 

The children of Joseph Howe and Margaret Feely were 
Eleanor, who married Reuben Sawers; Lucretia, who married 

Colonel William J. Jordan ; Eliza, who married Was- 

sam; Brown, who married William G. Farris; Ollie, who mar- 
ried D, P. Watson ; Sue, who never married. 

The children of John Dunbar Howe and Sarah, his wife, are 
as follows: Margaret, who married George Shannon; Susan, 
who married J. M. Thomas; Eliza Jane, who married Charles 
J. Matthews; Ellen Mary, who married J. G. Kent; John T., 
who married Sallie DeJarnette; Samuel S., who died a prisoner 
of war at Point Lookout; Haven B., who married Kate Cloyd; 
Willie, who died in infancy, and Agnes, who married Captain 

E. G. DeJarnette and lived at the old place. 

The children of William H. Howe and Mary Fisher Howe 
are : Belle, who married Dr. Charles Pepper ; Lizzie, who mar- 
ried W. W. Minor; William G., who married Alice Brown, 
Augusta, who married Dr. Hufford; Sallie, who married Mr. 

The Howes. 417 

Harmon; Alice, who married Charles Bumgardner; Ellie, who 
is unmarried. A daughter of Thomas Kirk and Ruth, his wife, 
married a Mr. Peery. 

The children of Julia Howe, who married Zecharia Cecil, are : 
Russell, Giles, Daniel R,, Zecharia and Nancy. The children 
of Eleanor, who married General James Hoge, are: Daniel, 
James, Joseph H., William; and Eliza, who married George 
Tyler, of Caroline, the father of Governor J. Hoge Tyler. The 
names of the children of Elizabeth, who married Colonel George 
N. Pearis, are as follows : George W. Pearis, Daniel H. Pearis, 
Nancy, who married Archer Edgar; Rebecca, who married 
George D. Hoge; Ardelia, who married Daniel R. Cecil; and 
Elizabeth, who married Benjamine White. The children of 
Lucretia, who married William Thomas, were Giles, William, 
Mary Anne and Julia. Nancy, who married Harvey Deskins, 
had no children. The children of Luemma, who married Dr. 
Jackson, are: Mollie, Sue, and Luemma. 

John Howe, son of the first Joseph and his wife Eleanor 
Dunbar Howe, was an active business man, engaged largely in 
the acquisition of wild land by svirvey and grant in the early 
years of the settlements along the tributaries of New River, 
in what is now Giles County, Virginia, and Mercer County, 
West Virginia. He made a survey and obtained a grant for a 
tract of four hundred acres of land on Brush Creek, near where 
the village of Princeton is now located. 

Major Daniel Howe, an officer in our war for independence, 
was often on detached service in search of Tories. The story 
is told that one John Haven, of Plum Creek, was suspected of 
being a Tory, and that Major Howe was sent on more than one 
occasion to arrest Haven, but was unable to do so, and that 
finally a pretty, blackeyed daughter of Haven, whose name was 
Nancy, caught the Major and she became his wife, as already 

418 New River Settlements 

the johnstons. 

In the 13th century, says Lieutenant Charles Johnston in his 
history of this family, ''There lived in the mountainous district 
of Annandale, Dumbriesshire, Scotland, just north of Firth of 
Sohvay, a small but hardy clan of borderers, whose chief was 
called John. They were doubtless of Saxon origin, and up to 
this time were little known. Their clanbadge was the Red 
Hawthorne. As the clan grew stronger their Chieftain be- 
came ambitious to take his place among the chiefs of the larger 
clans. Their motto was: "Viva ut vivas." A little after the 
middle of the 13th century the chief of the clan applied to the 
Earl of Annandale, who was the grandfather of Robert Bruce, 
to purchase a tract of land near the center of the district; the 
deal was consummated, and it thereupon became necessary to 
give name to the tract in question ; Bruce, in the charter, called 
it Jonistoun (or Johnstoun), and this chieftain, now Lord 
Jonistoun, was called Sir John de Jonistoun. His clan was 
thereafter known as Jonistown, or Johnistouns, the name now 
being spelled Johnstone or Johnston. Some writers have fallen 
into the error that the name is synonymous with Johnson, but 
a glance at the derivation of the names easily discloses the 
error; Johnson is derived from and means the son of John, 
while Johnston signifies John's Town; the one shows locality, 
the other indicates descent. 

"The Johnstons were a prolific clan as well as hardy, and in 
the next two centuries after adopting the name, they became 
strong enough to excite the jealousy of their neighbors, the 
much stronger clan of Maxwell of Nithsdale, and many a 
bloody fight took place before the Johnstons established their 
sui)remacy at the battle of Dyfe-Sands, in 1593, in which the 
Maxwells were completely routed, leaving their chief. Lord 
John Maxwell, dead on the field. At this time the chief of the 
Johnstons was Sir James, who was succeeded by his son James, 
who was created Lord Johnston in 1633; both were of the 
I'eerage and served in the English House of Lords. The John- 
stons and Scotts, it seems, were near neighbors in Scotland. 

The Johnstons. 419 

Sir Walter Scott, in his "Fair Maid of Perth," gives consider- 
able prominence to the Johnston clan, and adds some verses 
which run as follows : 

Within the bounds of Annandale 

The gentle Johnstons ride, 
They have been here a thousand yeara 

And a thousand more they'll bide. 

The seat of the Johnston clan was at Lockerby, near the 
center of the district of Annandale." 

After the fall of Londondary, and religious persecution con- 
tinuing in their country, a large number of the Johnstons 
migrated to Ireland, settling in County Antrim and near Enis- 
killen, in County Fermanagh, mostly in the latter county. As 
early as 1700 several of these Fermanagh Johnstons came to 
America, locating in Piedmont, Virginia, along the base of the 
Blue Ridge, in what is now the Counties of Culpeper and 
Rappahannock, then probably Essex County. 

James Johnston, of Fermanagh, had two sons, James and 
David, the latter born about 172G. The father having died and 
the estate under the laws belonging to the older brother, James, 
the younger son David, seeing nothing favorable to his remain- 
ing in Ireland, at the age of about ten years, viz : about 1736 or 
1737 sought an opportunity to join his kinsfolk in America 
and succeeded in hiring himself to a ship captain as a cabin 
boy, and finally landed at Norfolk, Virginia, and made his way 
across the country to his relations on the waters of the Rappa- 
hannock. He became the ancestor of the New River Johnstons. 
When about twenty-five years of age (1751), he fell in love 
with and married a pretty Irish girl by the name of Nannie (or 
Annie) Abbott, a daughter of Richard Abbott of Culpeper, and 
selected his home on Hazel River, near old Gourd Vine Church, 
in that county. 

John Chapman and his brother Richard, had also married 
daughters of Richard Abbott. Moredock O. McKensey, from 
Glasgow, Scotland, had married Jemima, the only sister of 
the Chapmans. In November, 1768, the Chapmans and Mc- 

420 New Rivbk Settlements 

Kensey sold out their lioldinfjs in Culpeper, and crossed the 
Blue Ividge and settled on the Shenandoah, where they re- 
mained until the year of 1771, when they removed to the New 
River Valley, locating at the mouth of Walker's Creek, in the 
then County of Botetourt, now Giles. The peculiar spelling of 
McKensey's name will be noted ; the author examined the record 
of deeds in the clerk's office of the County Court of Culpeper 
County, finding a deed made by Mr. McKensey and wife in 
November, 1768, conveying a tract of land on Burgess's River, 
to which deed the name of McKensey is spelled "Moredock O. 
McKensey." Burgess's river has disappeared from all the 
maps, if it ever had a place thereon, and diligent inquiry of the 
Culpeper people failed to disclose its locality; it is believed, 
however, that the name has been changed to "Hedges' River." 

In September, 1758, Hennings' Virginia Statutes, the House 
of Burgesses made an appropriation to pay David Johnston, 
of Culpeper, a sum of money for food furnished by him to 
friendly Indians. David Johnston remained in Culpeper until 
1778, and then came across the Alleghanies, settling on the 
plateau or territory between Big Stoney Creek and Little 
Stoney Creek at what is now known as the John Phleger farm, 
where he died in 1786, his wife in 1813, and they are both buried 
on this farm. The house which he built in 1778 is still standing 
and forms a part of the residence of the late John Phleger, 
and is no doubt the oldest structure in the County of Giles. 
David Johnston and his wife, Nannie, or Annie, Abbott John- 
ston, had eight children, three sons and five daughters, all born 
in Culpeper, the eldest, Sallie, had married Thomas Marshall 
before the family left Culpeper. 

James Johnston, the eldest son of David, had visited the 
New River Valley in 1775, no doubt on a visit to the Chapmans 
and McKensey, and on his return to Culpeper, and in January, 
1776, he enlisted in a volunteer company commanded by Cap- 
tain George Slaughter, which company was attached to the 
8th regiment of Virginia infantry commanded by Colonel 
Muhlenberg. James Johnston served two years in the Ameri- 

The Johnstons. 421 

can army ; his first service or a part thereof was in South 
Carolina and Georgia; his command then marched north and 
was under tlie immediate command of General Washington. 
James Avas in the battles of Brandywine and Germantown, 
marched through the Jerseys, and spent tlie winter at Valley 

David Johnston and Nannie Abbott Johnston had the fol 
lowing children : James, who married Miss Copley ; Sallie, 
who married Thomas Marshall ; Elian, who married Isaac Chap- 
man ; Jemima, who married John Chapman, of Wolf Creek ; 
Virginia, who married Isaac McKensey; David, born in 1768, 
married Mrs. Sallie Chapman Miller, the widow of Jacob 
Miller; Andrew, born in 1770, married Jane Henderson of 
Montgomery County; Annie, the youngest daughter, married 
George Fry, Jr. 

This George Fry, Jr., was a son of George Fry who married 
the widow of the elder David Johnston, the Settler. Captain 
George W. Caldwell, of Mercer, is the grandson of Annie John- 
ston Fry, and the great grandson of the elder David Johnston. 

James Johnston and his wife, Copley, had several 

children ; sons, Reuben and David. The family, except David, 
went to Indiana about the time of its admission into the Union. 
David married a Miss Peck, of Botetourt County, and resided 
on Sinking Creek, where his descendants still live. Thomas 
Marshall and his wife, Sallie Johnston Marshall, who settled 
near the present dwelling house of George L. Snidow, Esq., in 
Giles County, had four sons and two daughters; the sons: 
John, David, James and Thomas; the daughters, Nancy and 
Aggie. The family of Thomas Marshall removed at an early 
date to Powell's Valley, Virginia. 

John Chapman, of Wolf Creek, the son of Richard and 
Jemima Johnston Chapman, had quite a numerous family; 
one grandson, J. W. Chapman, residing on Wolf Creek, in 
Bland County, is the only one of that family now bearing that 
name that lives in this country. John Chapman and wife had 
a daughter who married William Wilburn, of Sugar Run, and 

422 New River Settlements 

Boston and John Howard Wilburn are her sons. The late 
John Chapman Wilburn was also a grandson of the said John 

Isaac McKensey and family went to Kentucky quite a hun- 
dred years ago. George Fry and his wife, Annie Johnston Fry, 
had a number of children, among them two sons, David and 
James, who went to Cabell County, Virginia, as early as 1820, 
and their descendants live in Cabell and Wayne, some of whom 
were men of prominence, among them Chapman Fry, grand- 
son of James, was long Clerk of the County Court of Wayne; 
William, another grandson, is a lawyer and now the Prose- 
cuting Attorney of W^ayne County; Johnston Fry, a son of 
James, was for many years Deputy Sheriff of Wayne County. 
Some members of this family settled in Boone and Logan 
Counties, and their descendants still live there. 

Sallie, a daughter of George Fry, Jr., and Annie Johnston 
Fry, married David Croy; another daughter of George and 
Annie Fry, Eliza, married John Caldwell, who resided for 
many years in Mercer County, where he and his wife both died 
and are buried. They left a number of children, among them 
Captain (leorge W. Caldwell, who was a faithful and brave 
Confederate soldier, and was for a number of years surveyor 
of Mercer County. 

The children of Isaac and Elian Johnston Chapman and who 
they married, will be seen by reference to the biographical 
sketch of the,('hapmans. 

David Johnston and his wife, Mrs. Sallie Chapman Miller 
flohnston, had two sons and three daughters; the sons: Oscar 
Fitzalan Johnston, was born June, 1807, married Elizabeth 
French, daughter of Isaac and Sallie Straley French; had three 
children, David E., who married Sarah E. Pearls; Sallie V. (1), 
who married, first, Jesse N. Simmons, second, George O'Ray- 
burn ; Oscar H., who died in 1879, unmarried. Chapman Isaac 
Johnston, born January, 180J), died December, 1891, married 
Elian Chapman Snidow, daughter of John and Rachel Chap- 

(l). Died December 2d, 1905. 

The Johnstons. 423 

man Snidow; they had sons, David Andrew, who married 
Fannie Shumate; J. Raleigh, who married Nona Peck; Sarah 
Ellen, who married William Augustus French ; Annie Chap- 
man, who married Charles Dingess French; Rachel Snidow, 

who married, first, Daugherty, second, Joseph H. 

Alvis. Olivia Johnston married William M. Gillespie of Taze- 
well County; had three sons, David Johnston, who married 
Elizabeth Saunders, Joseph Stras, who married Mary Higgin- 
botham ; Albert Pendleton, who married Nannie Higginbotham ; 
the daughters, Sarah, who married Clinton Barnes; Margaret, 
who married Colonel Joseph Harrison ; Louisa, who married 
Captain Henry Bowen ; Mary, who married Oscar Barnes ; 
Barbara, who married George W. Gillespie; Ella, who married 
Dr. J. L. Painter. Louisa Adeline Johnston married Colonel 
Daniel H. Pearis; they had three children, two daughters and 
one son : Virginia, who died in 1860, unmarried ; George 
Daniel, who when little above the age of sixteen years, joined 
Bryan's Virginia battery and was killed in the battle of Cloyd's 
farm, May 9th, 1864; and Sarah E., who married David E. 
Johnston. Sallie Chapman Johnston died unmarried. 

Colonel Andrew Johnston and his wife, Jane Henderson 
Johnston, had five children; three sons and two daughters: 
James D., a lawyer of great prominence, married Mary A. 
Fowler, daughter of Dr. Thomas Fowler and his wife, Priscilla 
Chapman Fowler. Andrew Henderson Johnston married Mary 
McDaniel, and they had two children, Walter McDaniel, who 
married Annie Hays; Jennie, who married Honorable Thomas 
H. Dennis. Dr. Harvey Green Johnston married, first, Annie 
Snidow, by whom he had four children; secondly, he married 
Mrs. Mary Fowler Halsey, by whom he had four children. 
Mary Johnston married James M. Carper; they had two sons 
and three daughters. Eliza Jane Johnston married James 
Hoge, of Montgomery County ; they had a large family of chil- 

The children of James D. Johnston and his wife, Mary 
Fowler Johnston, were: Roberta, who married Dr. John, 

424 New River Settlements 

Izard; Allene, who died unmarried; Sydney F. (now dead), 
who married Miss Hattie Carey; Mamie, who married Mason 
Jamison, and James D., a brilliant young lawyer of Roanoke 

The children of Dr. Harvey Green Johnston are: Dr. Wil- 
liam A., who married Mrs. Dennis; Carrie, who married Mr. 
J. E. Triplett; Jennie, who married Mr. William Black; Loula, 
who married ]Mr. B. E. Bransford; Fowler, who died young; 
Harvey, Vivian and Ada are unmarried. 

Annie Hoge, daughter of James Hoge and Eliza Jane John- 
ston Hoge, married Major John Chapman Snidow; had two 
sons and two daughters; the sons, William and Walter; 
daughters, Florence, who married John T. S. Hoge; Annie C, 
who married John W. Williams, who was clerk of the Virginia 
House of Delegates. The sons of James Hoge and Eliza Jane 
Johnston Hoge are Dr. Robert, James, Joseph, Rev. B. Lacey 
and Tyler, and a daughter, Jane Nellie. 

The descendants of the Settler David Johnston, or many of 
them, together with the descendants of the Settlers John and 
Richard Chapman, have not only been prominent and influ- 
ential people in both civil and military aflfairs in the New 
River Valley, but even in other sections of the country. In 
every Constitutional convention held in Virginia, except those 
of 1776, and the "Black and Tan," of 1869, this Johnston-Chap- 
man blood has had representatives. Henley Chapman was in 
the convention of 1829-30 ; his son. General Augustus A. Chap- 
man, was a member of the convention of 1850-1 ; his son, Man- 
nilius, a member of the Secession convention of 1861; a great 
grandson of David Johnston and John Chapman was a member 
of the late Constitutional convention of Virginia in the per- 
son of Honorable Albert Pendleton Gillespie, of Tazewell. 
The second David Johnston, Andrew Johnston, Isaac Chap- 
man, and his son, John, were frequently in the Legislature of 
Virginia; and later, Oscar F. Johnston, Augustus A. Chapman, 
and Manilius Chapman were members of the Virginia Legisla- 
ture. A grandson and great-grandson of the Settler, John 

The Kirks. 425 

Chapman, together with a great nephew, were members of the 
House of Representatives of the United States, in the persons 
of General A. A. Chapman, David E. Johnston, and Honorable 
Reuben Chapman, the latter of Alabama. Two great grandsons 
of the elder David Johnston and John Chapman have been 
Circuit Judges in West Virginia, and one of them, Honorable 
Joseph M. Sanders, has recently been elevated to the bench of 
the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia. Honorable 
James French Strother, a great-great-grandson of John Chap- 
man, is now a judge in West Virginia. Major Samuel E. Ly- 
brook and William A. French, great-grandsons of John Chap- 
man, represented Giles County in the Legislature of Virginia; 
and Samuel Lucas, a great grandson of the elder David John- 
ston, was also a member of the Virginia Legislature. 

About the year of 1800 there came to what is now Giles 
County and settled in what is known as the Irish settlement, 
an influx of the Johnstons from Fermanagh County, Ireland. 
Adam Johnston married in Ireland Elizabeth Stafford, of 
County Tyrone. Adam and his wife, Elizabeth Stafford John- 
ston, had a numerous family, among them, John, Adam, James, 
Edward and others. John, James and Edward had large fam- 
ilies, who with their descendants mostly reside in Giles County. 
Adam is the ancestor of the larger part of the Mercer County 
Johnstons. Edward, usually called '^Squire Neddy," was clerk 
of Giles County Court for several years. Some of the descend- 
ants of John and James Johnston reside in Mercer County, 
among them Dr. Charles A. Johnston, George S. Strader, and 
the family of Jacob L. Peters. Among these Scotch-Irish set- 
tlers who came about 1800 were the Eatons, Staffords, Eggle- 
•tons and others. 


John Kirk, the ancestor of this family, came from Scotland, 
and had located, several years prior to the beginning of the 
American Revolution, in Piedmont, Virginia. John, the son 

42G New River Settlements 

of this emigrant, came to the New River Valley at an early 
date, as shown by his written application, made in 1832, for 
a pension for military services rendered as an American soldier 
in the Revolution; he was born in the County of Fauquier, 
October 10th, 1754. He had a son, Thomas, who was also an 
American soldier, and had received, in one of the battles of the 
war of 1812, a severe wound in the hand. The Kirks, Dun- 
cans and Emmonses were neighbors in Fauquier. 

The John Kirk who came to Middle New River married 
Elizabeth O'Brien, and his son Thomas married Ruth Howe, a 
daughter of Major Daniel Howe. John Kirk enlisted in the 
spring of 1770, in the company of Captain John Chilton, of 
Fauquier County, which company was attached to the 3rd Vir- 
ginia regiment of infantry commanded by Colonel Hugh Mer- 
cer, of which Thomas Marshall, father of Chief Justice John 
Marshall, was the Major. This regiment, after its organiza- 
tion, marched to Alexandria, Virginia, then to Williamsburg, 
and from there to New York and was posted on Long Island. 
Colonel Mercer, having been promoted to Brigadier General 
and put in command of a brigade consisting of the 3rd, 7th, 
11th, and 15th Virginia regiments, Colonel Weeden was placed 
in command of the 3rd regiment, Thomas Marshall becoming 
Lieutenant Colonel, and Captain Leak Major. In the battle 
of Long Island, in August, 177G, Major Leak was killed and 
Captain Lee was promoted to Major. The brigade of Mercer 
marched to White Plains, then into New Jersey and on to 
Pennsylvania, camping on the banks of the Delaware, from 
whence on the evening of Christmas, 1776, the army crossed the 
Delaware through Hoating ice, and surprised the Hessians at 
Trenton, New Jersey, capturing more than 1,000 prisoners, 
who were safely brought away. The army rested in the vicin- 
ity of the Delaware, where it was confronted by the British 

army, which, on the night of the day of January, 1777, 

it eluded and by a circuitous route attacked a British force at 
Princeton, which it defeated. The brigade to which John Kirk 
belonged oi)ened this battle; its brigade commander. General 

The Lybrooks. 427 

Mercer, fell mortally wounded. Mr. Kirk was also in the bat- 
tle of Brandywine, in September, 1777, in which his Captain, 
Chilton, was killed, as was Major Lee, of his regiment ; he was 
likewise in the battle of Germantown and wintered at Valley 
Forge. His term of enlistment for two years expired in the 
spring of 1778, and he received his discharge. All the people 
of the New River Valley, who bear the name of Kirk, and 
many others who do not, are the descendants of this family. 
John Kirk represented Giles County in the House of Delegates 
of Virginia in the years of 1818-19, and was also Sheriff of that 


The progenitor of this family came from Holland (1) to 
Pennsylvania. The original name was Leibroch, but Anglicized 
into Lybrook. The first and only one of this name that sought 
and found a home in the New River Valley was Philip Lybrook, 
who came from Pennsylvania between 1748 and 1755, locating 
at the mouth of Sinking Creek, in what is now the County of 
Giles, then Augusta. He did not come with the Draper's 
Meadows settlers in 1748, as he is not mentioned, nor does his 
name appear in connection with that settlement or the people 
who made it until August 7th, 1755, the day before the butchery 
of the Draper's Meadows settlers by the Indians, when young 
Preston had been sent by his uncle. Colonel Patton, over to 
Lybrook's to get him to help with the reaping of the grain. 
Mr. Lybrook is again mentioned by Hale, in his 'Trans-Alle- 
ghany Pioneers," in connection with the retreat of the Indians 
with their prisoners, taken at Draper's Meadows, and the 
leaving of the head of Philip Barger at Lybrook's. It may be 
mentioned in connection with the remarkable escape and tramp 
of Mrs. Ingles from Big Bone Lick, in Kentucky, up the New 
River to Adam Harman's at the Gunpowder spring, that she 

(1). George Lybrook was killed by a runaway horse, about 1835, 
at a point about one half mile south of Pearisburg, Va. 

428 New Eiver Settlements 

would not have stopped two miles below at Lybrook's ; she had 
been taken to Lybrook's by the Indians on their retreat, and 
there would seem to be no reason why she should not have 
sought shelter at Mr. Lybrook's. The only reasonable conclu- 
sion is that either Lybrook had become fearful of the Indians 
and had gone away to a place of greater safety, or that Mrs. 
Ingles, in her worn and enfeebled condition, had lost all knowl- 
edge of the locality of Lybrook's cabin, lost her bearings, and 
that in avoiding the high cliff of rocks jutting into the river 
just below the mouth of Sinking Creek, had been compelled to 
leave the river, keeping, however, the general course thereof 
along the hills, and in this way reached the river at a point 
above Lybrook's without knowing exactly where she was. Tkere 
is no information obtainable that Mr. Lybrook had abandoned 
his settlement between the dates referred to; in fact, there is 
no other mention of him until the year of 1774, though, beyond 
doubt, he had been visited by John Snidow, from Pennsylvania, 
in 17G5, as Snidow's familv settled near him in 1760. The 
Lybrook-Chapman-Snidow fort stood at the extreme upper end 
of what is known as tlie ''Horse Shoe" farm, a short distance 
below the mouth of Sinking Creek. In the early days of 
August, 1774, there had been made known to the settlers that 
Indians were prowling around. John Chapman was away from 
home that day, Saturday, the 6th day of August, that informa- 
tion was conveyed to his family that Indians were in the neigh- 
borhood. Mrs. Chapman gathered her children and such of 
the household goods as they could carry, crossed the river and 
struck for the fort, and as they passed through the little bot- 
tom above the mouth of Little Stoney Creek they found the 
fresh remains of a hog that had just been killed by the Indians ; 
this tended to hasten their pace and they reached the fort in 
safety. Mr. Lybrook and an Irishman by the name of Mc- 
Griff were cultivating a small crop of corn at the mouth of 
Sinking Creek, had erected a couple of cabins in which their 
respective families resided; these men treated the statement 
that Indians were in the neighborhood as idle stories. On the 

\1 ^Sfr , 


Great Grandson of Philip, the Settler. 

The Lybrooks. 429 

morning of Sunday, the 7th, some of the young people from 
the fort, among them the Snidows, went up to Philip Lybrook's, 
where during the day six Indians attacked the young people 
in and about the river, and also Mr. Lybrook in his little mill 
on the Spring branch. They killed a young woman by the name 
of Scott, and five small children of Lybrook and Mrs. Snidow, 
wounded Mr. Lybrook in the arm, captured three small boys, 
and ran a foot race after John Lybrook, eleven years old, who 
escaped to his father's house. 

Mr. Philip Lybrook had a number of children, but it is only 
proposed to follow John and his descendants. Opposite this 
page is the photograph of Major Samuel E. Lybrook, a great 
grandson of the elder Philip, the settler, and grandson of John, 
who outran the Indian. John lived and grew to manhood and 
old age. When he was about twenty-five years old he fell in 
love with Annie Chapman, daughter of John and Sallie Abbott 
Chapman. Annie had another lover in the person of James 
French, son of Matthew, whom she had agreed to marry ; the 
day of the wedding was fixed, the license procured and the 
wedding supper cooked, the minister present to perform the 
ceremony, all the invited guests had arrived, save one — and 
that was John Lybrook — who arrived, however, about dark. 
He rode up, hitched his horse, walked in and made enquiry for 
Annie, and having found her in a room with her bridesmaids, 
enquired, "Annie are you ready?" She replying in the afiirma- 
tive, walked out with him, sprang on his horse behind him, and 
off they went for the home of John's father, leaving James 
weeping and disconsolate. John seems to have had a license 
also, at any rate he captured Jimmy's girl, and married her, 
as the marriage bond shows under the name of Annie Chapman. 
The marriage bond bears date January 11th, 1787, and the 
marriage bond authorizing her marriage to James French is 
dated January 1st, 1787. John Lybrook and Annie, his wife, 
had a number of children, among them Philip, the first sur- 
veyor of Giles County, and a man of prominence in his day. 
He married Miss Marrs and they had quite a large family of 

430 Kbw River Settlements 

sons and daughters ; of his sons, David Johnston Lybrook went 
to Australia at an early day, dying there some five or more 
years past; a son, Major Samuel E., who resides in Giles 
County, and who married Miss Jennie Chapman; a son, John, 
of Montgomery (>ounty, who is the father of John Barger Ly- 
brook, of Washington, D. C, an employee in the office of the 
Inter-State Commerce Commission. 

John Lybrook, who escaped from the Indian in 1774, by 
jumping a ravine twelve feet wide, became a famous hunter and 
brave, bold Indian fighter; serving for several years in the 
various forts along the New River Valley frontier under Cap- 
tain John Floyd, and Lieutenant Christian Snidow. Mr. Ly- 
brook lived to about the age of eighty years. 


This family is of Scottish origin, and about 1G88, with the 
large tide of emigration then moving from Scotland to Ireland, 
on account of religious persecution and other causes, emigrated 
to County Down, from whence sprang the American represent- 
atives of that family. James McClaugherty, of County Down, 
Ireland, married Agnes McGarre, and came with his family to 
America in the year 1786, settling at Sweet Springs (now 
Monroe C'ounty, West Virginia). In 1809 he started with his 
family to Tennessee, and on reaching New River found a heavy 
flood of water had carried away all the boats within reasonable 
reach, and he 8toj)ped at the New River, settling where the late 
James Floyd Mc(Jlaugherty and family resided for many years. 
The sons of James McClaugherty and Agnes, his wife, were 
-lames, John and Hugli, and one daughter, Jane. On May 8th, 
1813, in crossing New River, Mr. McClaugherty, his wife, Agnes, 
and daughter Jane were drowned. 

John, the son of James, married Miss Dingess, daughter of 
Veter Dingess, and they had a family of sons and daughters. 
James, the son of James, married Miss Sallie Mullins, and they 
had sons, James, John and William, and daughters. 

The McComases and Napiers. 431 

Captain John McClaugherty became a prominent figure in 
the affairs of Giles County, and was for long years a magis- 
trate, Deputy Clerk, Sheriff, and Deputy Sheriff; lived a long 
life of usefulness, dying at the age of about ninety-three. John, 
son of James McClaugherty, married Phcebe Hale, a daughter 
of Captain Edward Hale, and they had sons, John, Joseph H., 
Nelson H., Edward, who died in the Confederate military ser- 
vice; D. W., and Robert C, and a daughter, who married Dr. 
Evan H. Brown ; another, who married W. F. Heptinstall ; an- 
other who married Mr. Fillinger, and another, who married 
Charles A. Deaton. 

James Floyd McClaugherty, son of Captain John, married 
Miss Martha Cunningham, and had sons, John, George and 
Robert, and a daughter, Sallie, who married George Walker; 
John died young and unmarried. 

Charles W., son of Captain John, married first. Miss Anne 
Kyle, second, Mrs. Shanklin; by his first wife he had sons, 
Robert and J. Kyle; Robert died young; a daughter, Henri- 
etta, married Charles W. Walker, and Virginia married John 
Adair, of New River, 


In 1776 John McComas and his brother-in-law, Thomas H, 
Napier, came from western Maryland to the New River Valley. 
McComas was of that bold, adventurous, Scotch-Irish stock 
that feared no danger, and was always anxious to get away 
from restraints of all kinds, and to be free and happy. Mc- 
Comas and Napier first took up their abode at what is now 
known as Ripplemeade, but shortly removed to the territory 
where Pearisburg, Virginia, now stands, and as a protection 
against the Indians, built in connection with the Halls Fort 
Branch on the land lately owned by Mr. Charles D. French, and 
which is about three-fourths of a mile to the southeast of Pearis- 
burg. McC'omas very soon afterward entered and surveyed some 
lands around or near the location referred to; and in 1782, 

432 New River Settlements 

the land where Judge Philip W. Strother now resides, or a part 
thereof, was taken up and surveyed by Moredock O. McKensey, 
and afterward conveyed to Thomas H. Napier. 

The first or elder David Johnston died in 17S(); his will bears 
date in July of that year, and John McComas is one of the sub- 
scribing witnesses to that instrument. John McComas and his 
wife had a considerable family of children ; among the sons 
were: Elisha, David, Jesse, John, William and Moses, and 
there were several daughters. John McComas, the elder, died 
in Giles County, Virginia. Elisha McComas, son of the elder 
John, and who is referred to as General Elisha, obtained his 
title after he went to Cabell County, being commissioned a 
Brigadier General of militia. He married in January, 1791, 
Annie French, daughter of Matthew, of Wolf Creek, and re- 
moved to Cabell County about 1809. His brothers, or some of 
them, preceded him by seven or eight years, and settled on the 
Guyandotte and Mud River waters, then in Kanawha County, 
Cabel not being created until 1809. It will be noted that 
Elisha w^as there in 1810, either in Guyandotte or vicinity, for 
he is made, by the act of the Legislature creating that town, one 
of the trustees, as well as a trustee of Barboursville in 1813. 
David McComas, son of the elder John, married Miss Bailey, a 
daughter of the elder Richard. David died early, leaving a 
widow and one son, James, the latter the ancestor of the Mercer 
McComas', viz : Archibald, Eli and others. 

General Elisha McComas and his wife had sons, David, Wil- 
liam and James, and daughters, one of whom married John 

Shelton, and another married Keenan, from whom 

descended Patrick Keenan McComas, the eccentric lawyer of 
Logan County, West Virginia. 

David, the son of General Elisha, married Cynthia French, 
daughter of Captain David and Mary Dingess French, and he 
became a distinguished Judge; was a member of tbe General 
Court of Virginia; Judge of the Kanawha Circuit Court, and 
was at one time a State Senator from the Kanawha District. 
He was born about 1795 and died in Giles County, Virginia, in 

The McComases and Napiers. 433 

1864. He was a jolly man, full of wit and humor, but a most 
negligent man about his dress. Some good stories of his life 
as a judge have been preserved, and are worth relating. As 
has been said, he was Circuit Judge; his circuit was a large 
one, and his mode of travel was on horseback. Before he 
started on his circuit his wife made up and arranged his cloth- 
ing for the trip, which often lasted for weeks, and on his return 
his wife would search his saddle bags for his soiled clothes, 
frequently finding none; he had simply, by his forgetfulness, 
left them at his boarding houses. On one occasion, when he 
was about to start off for his courts, his wife prepared for him 
and packed in his saddlebags a dozen new shirts, and enjoined 
upon him that he should exercise prudence in taking care of 
the same. On his return, on examination by his wife of the 
saddlebags, she found not a single shirt, whereupon she said: 
**Just as I expected, Mr. McComas, you have brought back no 
stop throwing off shirts until he had unburdened himself of 
eleven. His wife and himself, while he was Circuit Judge and 
lived in Charleston, made a visit to his relations in Cabell 
County, and after they had made the rounds, he remarked to 

his wife, "'Well, we must go and see old brother '' 

to which his wife inquiringly said, "Mr. McComas, isn't he in 
the poorhouse?" "Yes," said the Judge, "but there is no dif- 
ference between him and myself; he is on the county and I am 
on the state." While Judge McComas was in the Senate of 
Virginia, it is said that he made the first straightout secession 
speech that up to that time had been made in Virginia. He 
and his wife left no children. 

William McComas, son of General Elisha, married Miss 
Ward, lived for some years at Maiden, in Kanawha County, 
and while living there in 1832 was elected to the Congress of 
the United States. He was a member of the Virginia Secession 
Convention of 1861. William McComas and his wife had the 
following children : Elisha W., Hamilton, William Wirt, Mat, 
and Benjamine Jefferson, and a daughter, Irene, who married 
Major McKendree. Elisha W. was in the Virginia Convention 

434 New River Settlements 

of 1850-1, and was also Lieutenant Governor of Virginia, after- 
ward dying at Fort Scott, Kansas. 

Hamilton, an eminent lawyer of St. Louis, Missouri, was 
killed by Indians in New Mexico; Benjamine Jefferson, a law- 
yer of distinction and a Captain in tlie Confederate service, 
died at Barboursville, West Virginia, and George J. McComas, 
a prominent lawyer of Huntington, West Virginia, is his son. 

Dr. William Wirt McComas married Sarah M. French, 
daughter of Captain Guy D., and Araminta Chapman French ; 
he was an eminent physician, and at the beginning of the Civil 
war raised in Giles County a company of artillery, which he 
led into the service, and at the battle of South Mills, North 
Carolina, April 19th, 1862, he was slain, leaving his widow and 
two small children, Guy F., and Minnie, surviving him. The 
Napiers removed from Giles County to Cabell about the time 
of the emigration of the McComases. 


Two representatives of this family came to the New River 

Valley after the surrender of Cornwallis at Yorktown. The 
exact date of their coming cannot be fixed with certainty, but 
was about 1782 or 1783. Jacob Meadows came from the County 
of Rockingham, in the Valley of Virginia, and was a neighbor 
of the elder John Peters, who came to the New River Valley 
in 1782. It appears by the application of Jacob Meadows for 
a pension made in 1832, that in 1781 he served in the Virginia 
militia under Captain Coker, in the regiment commanded by 
Colonel William Noll ; his first service was for three months, 
during which time he was engaged in a number of skirmishes 
with the British in and around Norfolk and Portsmouth; the 
last three months he served as a substitute for Adam Hans- 
berger, and was at the battle of Yorktown, serving in LaFay- 
ette's corps. John Peters, who gives his affidavit of the service 
performed by Jacob Meadows, shows that he saw him at York- 
town, serving as a soldier. Jacob Meadows settled on lower 

The Meadows Family. 435 

East Eiver, and is the ancestor of the Meadows family in that 

The other Meadows was Josiah, who came from the County of 
Bedford, Virginia. He, too, was an American soldier, having 
served for two or more periods; a part of the time on the 
frontier against the Indians, and another part in the American 
army against the British. The facts here stated are taken from 
his declaration made for pension in 1832, when he was seventy- 
four years of age. He enlisted in the early spring of 1778, 
under Captain Joseph Renfroe, and marched with his company 
to Jarrett's Fort, on Wolf Creek, now in the County of Monroe, 
where the company was divided, and part thereof, he among 
the number, was sent to Keeney's Fort, on the Greenbrier, 
where he was stationed at the time of the attack made by the 
Indians on Donnally's Fort. Upon the expiration of the term 
for which he enlisted he again entered the service in the com- 
pany of Captain Isaac Taylor, and with his company and regi- 
ment, the latter commanded by Colonel John Montgomery, 
marched through the Holstein country to the Indian town at 
Chicamauga, which they destroyed; from thence going to the 
Illinois country, under Colonel George Rogers Clark. After 
his return he was with a portion of the American army that 
had charge of the British prisoners captured at Yorktown. 
Mr. Meadows was a Baptist minister in the last years of his 
life; locating on the north of the Bluestone, and among his 
sons were Josiah and John Meadows. From this Josiah 
Meadows, the soldier, has descended the large family of that 
name in Mercer and adjoining counties. 

The name Meador came later, whether it originated from 
Meadows is not definitely known, but is altogether probable. 
Closely connected with this Meadows family is that of Lilley, 
whose first representative in the New River Valley was Robert, 
who came from Franklin County, Virginia, and who lived for 
a few years about the mouth of East River, settling there in 
about 1790 ; then locating in the North Bluestone section where 
many of his descendants now live. He was long a magistrate 

436 New River Settlements i 

of Mercer County. The first Josiah Meadows, the American 
soldier, was the great-grandfather of Hon. IJ. G. Meador, of 
Mercer County. 


The name suggests its Scottish origin, and Glencoe as the 
original home of the family. After the close of the Revolution 
of 1688 many of the Scottish clans continued in arms for King 
James against William and Mary. Tn August, 1691, the gov- 
ernment of William and Mary issued a proclamation offering 
amnesty to such insurgents as should take the oath of allegi- 
ance on or before the 31st day of December then next ensuing. 
All the chiefs submitted within the prescribed time, except the 
aged Macdonald of Glencoe, whose clan inhabited or lived in 
the pass of Glencoe. He went to Fort William on December 
31st and offered to take the oath, but the officer in command, 
not having authority to administer it, referred the matter to 
the Sheriff, before whom Macdonald took the oath on January 
6th, 1 602 ; this, however, did not satisfy the adherents of King 
William, who determined to avail themselves of this uninten- 
tional delay to effect the destruction of the clans. On Febru- 
ary 12th a body of 120 soldiers, commanded by Campbell, 
murdered Macdonald and two of his attendants, and so wound- 
ed his wife that she died the next day. About forty persons 
were killed that night. Detachments of soldiers sent to guard 
the outlets of the valley arrived too late, and many of the clans 
escaped half naked to the mountains, where a considerable 
nund^er of the women and children perished of cold and hunger 
— ("McCauley's His. of England, Vol. IV"). 

Shortly after this massacre, supposed to have been between 
1692 and 1700, Bryan McDonald and Mary Combs McDonald, 
with their family, having first migrated to Ireland, came from 
thence to America, and settled at or near New Castle, Delaware, 
then in the Province of Pennsylvania, and presently purchased 
of William I'enn, the proprietor, a large and valuable tract of 

The McDonalds. 437 

land. Bryan McDonald and family came, in 1756, to the Vir- 
ginia Valley, having been preceded some years earlier by two 
of his sons, Joseph and Edward. In a battle with the Indians, 
in 1761, near Amsterdam, in what is now Botetourt County, 
Edward, a bright and promising young lawyer, was killed. He 
left four daughters, two of whom married Campbells, one mar- 
ried Greenway, and one a Russell. Their descendants are 
numerous, prominent and influential people ; one of them, David 
Campbell, was Governor of Virginia; William went to Ten- 
nessee; Dr. Edward McDonald Campbell and Judge John A. 
Campbell were their descendants. The Russells lived in south- 
west Virginia, and the Green ways in Lynchburg and Baltimore. 

Joseph McDonald married Miss Elizabeth Ogle, whose an- 
cestors had come from Castle Ogle, Northumberland County, 
England. They, the Ogles, came to England with William the 
Norman. Joseph McDonald, who was born April 4th, 1722, 
after his marriage came, in 1763, over the Alleghanies and 
settled in what is now Montgomery County, then Augusta. 
He died in 1809. In the American Revolution he served in 
Captain Kirkpatrick's company. He had six sons in the 
American army ; Richard was a Major, Edward was a Captain, 
and Alexander served in Captain Thompson's company. Pow- 
der for the patriot army was manufactured on his farm, and a 
government tannery established, as well as provisions gathered 
there. All these supplies had to be largely, if not altogether, 
transported to the army on horses, and this proved a danger- 
ous business, on account of Indian forays. Captain Edward 
McDonald was in the border wars against the Indians, and in 
scouting expeditions toward the Ohio. 

Joseph McDonald had ten children in the following order as 
to ages : Bryan, who married Mary Bane ; John, who married, 
first Miss Sawyers, second Miss Cannaday ; Joseph, who mar- 
ried Nancie Sawyers ; Edward, who married Keziah Stephens ; 
Richard, who married Mrs. Mary Martin ; Alexander, who mar- 
ried Elizabeth Taylor, niece of President Taylor; William, who 
married Ursula Huff, daughter of Dr. Huff; Elizabeth, who 

438 New River Settlements 

married Samuel Ingram; Jonas, who married Elizabeth Foster; 
James, who married, first Elizabeth New, second Mary Flour- 
noy. The descendants of Joseph McDonald have scattered 
over many states of the Union, and have held many prominent 
positions, many of them able and distinguished persons. A 
great many of them were slain, or died, in the war between the 

Joseph McDonald Sanders, a bright young lawyer of Mercer 
County, West Virginia, who served eight years as judge of the 
9th Judicial Circuit of West Virginia, and who was recently ele- 
vated to the bench of the Supreme Court of Appeals of West 
Virginia, is a great-great-grandson of Joseph McDonald, and 
great-grandson of Edward McDonald and Keziah Stephens Mc- 

During the American Revolution one David Hughes, form- 
erly of North Carolina, and a Tory, while scouting through the 
wilderness country toward the Ohio River, discovered that 
beautiful bodv of valuable land on the Clear Fork of Guvan- 
dotte, in the now County of Wyoming. He informed the above 
mentioned Edward McDonald of his discoverv, with whom he 
agreed for one blanket and a rifle gun to show him this land, 
which he did, and in 1780 McDonald entered and surveyed the 
same ; and in 1802, together with his son-in-law. Captain James 
Shannon, removed to the Guyandotte Valley and took posses- 
sion of his valuable property; his son-in-law, Captain Shannon, 
settling a few miles away on the Big Fork of the Guyandotte. 
When Cajitain Shannon took possession of his land he found 
still standing on the bottoms the Indian wigwams. 

Edward McDonald had several sons and daughters. The 
sons, Joseph, William and Stephen, settled on the lands given 
them by their father out of the homestead. One daughter mar- 
ried Cajitain James Shannon ; one Captain Thomas Peery ; one 
Augustus I'ack; one William Chapman. Joseph McDonald 
married Nancy Chai)man, daughter of Isaac Chapman and his 
wife, Elian Johnston Chapman, and their children were Sallie, 
who married John Sanders; Juliett, who married John Tif- 


The old MacDonald Homestead, built about the close of Revolutionary war. 

The Packs. 439 

fany; Elizabeth, who married John Anderson, and Nancy, who 
married Lewis McDonald. W. W. McDonald, of Logan, mar- 
ried Miss Scaggs ; Lewis, the son of Joseph, married, first Miss 
McDonald, second Miss Keffer. John C, Floyd and Colonel 
Isaac E. were never married ; the two former died in the army 
during the Civil war. Colonel Isaac E. lived on the McDonald 
homestead, in Wyoming County, until 1876, when he purchased, 
by exchange, the valuable farm of Mr. George Pearis George, 
on Bluestone, in Tazewell County, Virginia. Colonel Isaac E. 
was a member of the Virginia Legislature in 1861, and of the 
West Virginia Senate for several years. 

The family of William McDonald, son of Edward, consisted 
of one son, Edward, who married a Miss Black, of Montgomery 
County, and daughters, of whom one married Harmon New- 
berry, one William G. Mustard, one Zachary T. Weaver, and 
one Captain Kobert H. Bane. 

Stephen McDonald's family went west many years ago. He 
had two sons, Andrew McDonald and Crockett McDonald ; the 
latter married Miss Ellen Hall, then of Princeton, West Vir- 
ginia. He died several years ago, leaving three children, two 
sons and a daughter, who, with their mother, live in the state 
of Kansas. Joseph, William and Stephen all died about the 
beginning of or during the Civil war. Colonel Isaac E. died a 
few years ago, leaving the major part of his valuable estate to 
his nephew, Walter McDonald Sanders, who also died some 
two or three years ago, leaving a widow and three or four in- 
fant children, who, with their mother, reside on the Bluestone 

Before closing this sketch of the McDonald family it is de- 
sirable to present a photograph of the oldest dwelling of that 
family now standing in Virginia, which is at Greenhill, in 
Montgomery County. 


The progenitors of this family now in this section of the 

440 New River Settlements 

country- were on the New River, about the mouth of Indian 
Creek, as early as 1763. Pack, Swope and Pittman, hunters, 
discovering Indian signs, started, one for the Jackson's River, 
and the others for the Catawba settlements, to warn the people, 
but the Indians had traveled faster than the hunters and the 
warning did not reach them. The given name of this hunter, 
Pack, is not obtainable ; it is probable that he was the ancestor 
of the Samuel who was born in Augusta, in 1760, as members 
of this family, soon after 1764, are found along the New River 
between the mouth of the Greenbrier and Indian Creek. A 
history of this family, from the Pack MSS., is interesting and 
is here inserted : 

A Mr. Pack and several sons came to Jamestown, from Eng- 
land, with the early settlers on the James. Owing to the hard- 
ships encountered there they went back to England ; later, how- 
ever, three of tlie sons returned to this country; two of them 
went to the South, and the other remained in Virginia. There 
were born to the last mentioned Pack two sons, one of whom 
was named Samuel, who was born in 1760, in Augusta County. 
He had seven sons, whose names were: John, Matthew, 
Samuel, Bartley, Lowe, William and Anderson; the daughters 
were: Betsey, who married Jacob Dickison; Polly, who mar- 
ried Joe Lively, and Jennie, who married Jonah Morriss. 

John and Bartley settled at Pack's Ferry, now Summers 
County ; Matthew died on the west side of New River, opposite 
Pack's Ferry; Samuel settled on Glade Creek, in what is now 
Raleigh County; Lowe lived on Brush Creek, in what is now 
Monroe County; William went West; Polly Lively and Betsey 
Dickison lived in Monroe; Jennie Morriss moved to Missouri. 

John, the son of the above named Anderson Pack, was taken 
prisoner on Flat Top Mountain during the Civil war, and 
Colonel Hayes, afterward President of the United States, 
claimed relationship with John and told him that his wife's 
motJier was a Pack (this was Jennie, who married Jonah Mor- 
riss), and by reason of this John was allowed the privilege of 
the camp. 

The Packs. 4-il 

John Pack, who lived at Pack's Ferry, had great trouble with 
the Indians ; he frequently had to plow with his rifle strapped 
to his shoulder. After friendly relations were secured with 
the Indians, an old Indian came to John Pack's house one day 
and told him that on one occasion he conceived the idea to 
steal two of John's little girls, and when he saw them coming 
he hid in an old stump to capture them as they came by, but 
that they were in the course of a foot race when they came up, 
and they passed so quickly that he could not catch them. 

Alderman Pack, an ancestor of the above mentioned Packs, 
was a member of Parliament during Cromwell's time, and he 
moved that body to confer the title of Protector on Cromwell. 
There is authority for saying that a Mr, Pack, an English 
General, who fought in the Peninsula campaign and in France 
and Portugal against Napoleon, was one of the ancestors of the 
Packs who came to America and settled on New River. Mrs. 
Emily Landgraff, who lived near Pack's Ferry, said that she 
had seen her grandfather, Samuel Pack, the first Samuel, and 
that he was an old gentleman of the English type, who dressed 
in the frock coat and knee breeches peculiar to the Eighteenth 
century and that he wore a cue. 

The aforesaid John Pack, who married Jane Hutchinson, was 
the father of the following named children : Samuel, who mar- 
ried Harriet French ; Rebecca, who married Robert Dunlap ; 
Archibald, who married Patsey Peck ; Polly, who married Rich- 
ard Shanklin ; Rufus, who married Catharine Peters, and Julia, 
who married Elliott Vawter. 

Samuel Pack and his wife, Harriet French Pack, who was 
a daughter of Captain David French, had four sons and one 
daughter; the sons were: Captain John A., who married Miss 
Mary Gooch; Allen C, who married Miss Sue Lugar; Samuel, 
who married Miss Sallie Douthat; Charles D., who died un- 
married ; the daughter, Minerva, married Dr. John W. Easley. 
Samuel Pack, who married Harriet French, was a lawyer by 
profession, and long practiced in Giles and adjoining counties. 

442 New River Settlements 

the peck family. 

This family comes of German stock. Jacob Peck, born in 
Germany, in 1G96, came to America, first locating in Pennsyl- 
vania, and then removed to the Valley of Virginia and settled 
in the neighborhood of where the city of Staunton is now situ- 
ated, prior to 1744. He married, about the year last mentioned, 
Elizabeth, a daughter of the elder Benjamine Burden, who had 
come to America as the agent of Lord Fairfax to look after his 
large landed estate in the Northern Neck of Virginia. Ben- 
jamine Burden, on his coming to the country, first visited the 
Virginia capitol at Williamsburg, where he met some of the 
sons of John Lewis, who had then recently located in the 
Valley, and he went with them to their home. On a hunting 
expedition with the sons of Lewis he captured a white Buffalo 
calf which he presented to Governor Gooch; whereupon the 
Governor ordered certificate to be issued to Burden, authoriz- 
ing him to locate 100,000 acres of land on the rivers James and 
Sherando, which he did, securing a large and valuable body of 
James River bottom lands, now in the County of Botetourt, 
then Orange. 

Benjamine Burden, the elder, died about 1743, and by his 
will he gave the James River lands to his five daughters, one 
of whom was Elizabeth, who afterward became Mrs. Jacob 
Peck. There was a long litigation over this land between Peck 
and wife and Harvey, a full history of which can be seen by 
reference to the reported case in the Court of Appeals of Vir- 
ginia, Ist Munford's R. 518-28. Jacob Peck and his wife died 
before the litigation ended, which was in 1810; the suit was 
decided for them, and their children received the land, moved 
to it, and became citizens of Botetourt County. The children 
of Jacob and Elizabeth Burden Peck were Jacob, John, Joseph 
and Hannah, the latter marrying Peter Holm. 

This name Burden is frequently spoken of as Borden or 
Burton. One of these three sons of Jacob Peck was the father 
of Benjamine Peck, who settled on the Catawba or Sinking 
Creek about 1785. This Benjamine Peck, grandson of the first 

The Peck Family. 443 

Jacob, and great-grandson of the elder Benjamine Burden, had 
sons John, Jacob, Benjamine and Joseph. John married Eliza- 
beth Snidow, a daughter of Colonel Christian Snidow. Ben- 
jamine married Rebecca Snidow, also a daughter of Colonel 
Christian Snidow. Jacob married Malinda Givens, of Bote- 
tourt. This name Givens appears in the list of persons located 
between 1738-43, in Beverly Manor near Staunton. 

John Peck and his wife, Elizabeth Snidow Peck, had the 
following sons: William H., Christian L., Joseph A., Dr. 
Erastus W. and Charles D., and daughters: Mary, who mar- 
ried Benjamine Burden Peck; Margaret, who married Charles 
L, Pearls; Clara, who married John H. Vawter; Josephine, 

who married Phillips ; Ellen, who married Dr. Robert 

B. McNutt; Martha, who married Judge John A. Kelley; and 
another daughter, who married Edwin Amos. 

William H, Peck and family removed to Logan County, West 
Virginia; Joseph A. and family removed to Texas; Christian 
L. died in Giles County, but left a family, among them a son, 
Charles Wesley, who died in the service of his country, and 
sons Erastus and John H., who were gallant Confederate sold- 
iers, receiving in battle severe wounds, from which the former 
has never recovered. 

Dr. Erastus Peck was thrice married and left some children, 
among them, Amos Peck, Miss Josie Peck and the wife of 
Walter V. Peck, Charles D., who married Miss Thomas, had 
but one son who attained his majority, John K. ; a daughter, 
Lucretia, who married Dr. D. W. McClaugherty ; another, Mag- 
gie, who married Judge Hugh G. Woods; another, Clara, who 
married J. Kyle McClaugherty ; another, Fannie, married John 
Adair, and Rachael married Mr. Fulton. 

Benjamine Burden Peck and wife had six sons : Pembroke P., 
Charles L., James H., Jacob A., Erastus H,, and B. Wallace, 
the latter yielding up his life for his country in the battle of 
Gettysburg, Mr. Phillips and family went to Alabama. Judge 
John A. Kelley and family lived in Smyth County, Virginia. 
Charles L. Pearis and wife had but one child, a daughter, 

444 New River Settlements 

Electra, who married Dr. Charles W. Pearis. Dr. Robert B. 
McNutt and wife had three sons, viz: John W,, Joseph P., 
and Charles R. ; and daughters, Josie, who died young; Mary, 
who married Colonel James B, Peck ; Neta, who married George 
B. Sinclair. 

John H, Vawter and wife had several children; among the 
sons are: Charles E. and Lewis A., and daughters, Josephine, 
who married B. Frank Sweeney ; another who married Lewis 
Peck; Virginia, who married William Farrier. Benjamine 
Peck and his wife, Rebecca Snidow Peck, had four sons, viz : 
William H., Christian S., Frank, John S. and Andrew J., and 
daughters, Eliza, who married James Sweeney ; Mary, who 
married William Farrier, and Margaret, who married John A. 

Jacob Peck and his wife, Malinda Givens Peck, had the fol- 
lowing children, viz: Benjamine Burden, who married Mary 
Peck; Wm. G., who died unmarried; Elisha G., who married 
Margaret Peters; Daniel R., who died unmarried; George Har- 
rison, who married Sarah J. Handley; James Preston, who 
married Elizabeth Scott; Jacob H., who married Ann Handley; 
Patsey C, who married Archibald Pack; Rhoda E., who mar- 
ried James McClaugherty ; Louisa S., who married Lewis 
Payne, and Rebecca, who married John A. Peters. 

the pearis family. 

The ancestors of this family were Huguenots, who fled from 
France, stopping temporarily in Barbadoes, thence about 1710, 
to South Carolina, locating on an island about five miles from 
Port Royal, to which they gave the name "Paris Island.'' This 
name is sometimes spelled "Pearris," again "Paris," and 
"Pearis"; the modern spelling being Pearis. The settler was 
Alexander Pearis (Parris), who became quite a distinguished 
man in the early days of the history- of South Carolina. Oppo- 
site this page is the photogi'aph of the late Captain George W. 

y> - 

>^ m' 



Grandson of Col. Geo. Pearis, the Settler. 

The Pearis Family- 445 

Pearis, a grandson of the New Kiver settler, Colonel George 

Judge McCrady, in his History of South Carolina under the 
Proprietary Government, 1670-1719, gives considerable promi- 
nence to Colonel Alexander Pearis, whom he shows to have 
been Commissioner of Free Schools, Commissioner for Build- 
ing Churches, Member of House of Commons, of which Colonel 
Wm. Rhett was Speaker; as a military officer and one of the 
judges to try pirates, and as commander of militia in the 
Revolution of 1719. Colonel Alexander Pearis had a son, Alex- 
ander, who made some conveyance of property in 1722-26. Alex- 
ander Pearis, Jr., had a son, John Alexander, who likewise had 
a son, John Alexander, as shown by his will probated August, 
1752. The last mentioned John Alexander had a son, Robert, 
who spelled his name as did his father, John Alexander 
"Pearis." This Robert Pearis died about 1781 ; he had a daugh- 
ter, Malinda, who married Samuel Pepper, who removed to the 
New River Valley prior to 1770, and located at the place where, 
about 1780, he established a ferry, and which place has since 
been known as Peppers. His two brothers-in-law, George and 
Robert Alexander Pearis, sons of the preceding Robert, came, 
with him, or about the same time. At the date of the coming 
of Pepper and the Pearises, in fact, before that date, there lived 
in the neighborhood where Pepper located, a gentleman by the 
name of Joseph Howe, who had some pretty daughters, and it 
did not take long for these young Huguenots to fall in love with 
these girls, at least with two of them. An examination of the 
Pearis Bible discloses that George Pearis was born February 
16th, 1746, and was married to Eleanor Howe February 26th, 
1771. Robert Alexander Pearis was probably two years 
younger than his brother George. He married also a daughter 
of Joseph Howe, and about 1790 removed with his family to 
Kentucky and settled in what is now Bourbon County, and 
from whom it is said the town of Paris, in that county, is 
named. He had a son who in the early history of that state 
was a member of its Legislature. George Pearis remained in 

440 New River Settlements 

the viciuity of I'eppers Ferry until the spring of 1782; prior 
to this time he had been made a Captain of one of the militia 
companies of the County of Montgomery, 

On the advance of the British army into the Carolinas, in 
the fall of 1780, there was a Tory uprising in Surry County, 
North Carolina, of such formidable proportion as to impel 
General Martin Armstrong, comanding that military district, 
to call on Major Joseph Cloyd, of the Montgomery County 
militia, to aid in its suppression. About the 1st day of October, 
1780, Major Cloyd with three companies of mounted men, one 
of which was commanded by Captain George Pearis, marched 
to the State of North Carolina, where he was joined by some of 
the militia of that state, augmenting his force to about 160 
men, with which he, on the 14th day of the month, attacked 
the Tories at Shallow Ford of the Yadkin, defeating them with 
a loss of fifteen killed and a number wounded ; Major Cloyd 
had one killed and a few wounded, among them Captain Pearis, 
severely, through the shoulder. This fight cleared the way for 
the crossing of General Green's army at this ford, which the 
Tories were seeking to obstruct. Captain Pearis returned 
home wounded, and in addition to his suffering from his wound 
had the misfortune to lose his wife by death in a few days 
after his return, she dying on November 14th. Captain Pearis' 
wound disabled him from performing further military service, 
and having purchased from Captain William Ingles, about the 
year of 1779, for seventy pounds sterling (about $350.00), the 
tract of 204 acres of land on New River — whereon is now situ- 
ated Pearisburg station on the line of the Norfolk & Western 
Railway, and which land was known for years as the Hale and 
Charleton tracts — he, in the spring of 1782, removed thereto, 
erecting his dwelling house at a point nearly due south of the 
residence of Mr. T^dward C. Hale, and a little to the southeast 
of where the road from Mr. Hale's house unites with the turn- 
pike. Two or three years after Captain Pearis made his loca- 
tion, he had a ferry established across the New River, and kept 
a small stock of goods, and later kept public entertainment. 

The Pearis Family. 447 

On October 5th, 1784, he married Rebecca Clay, daughter of 
Mitchell Clay. The children of Colonel George Pearis and his 
wife, Rebecca Clay Pearis, were: George N., Robert Alex- 
ander, Samuel Pepper, Charles Lewis ; their daughters, Rebecca, 
Julia, Rhoda, Sallie and Eleanor. 

Colonel George N. Pearis married Elizabeth Howe, daughter 
of Major Daniel Howe; Robert Alexander Pearis married Miss 
Arbuckle, of Greenbrier County; Samuel Pepper Pearis mar- 
ried Rebecca Chapman, daughter of Isaac and Elian Johnston 
Chapman ; Charles Lewis Pearis married Margaret Peck, daugh- 
ter of John and Elizabeth Snidow Peck ; Rebecca married John 
Brown, tliey went to Texas about 1836, leaving a son, George 
Pearis Brown, who lived for a number of years in Mercer 
County; Julia married Colonel Garland Gerald; Rhoda mar- 
ried Colonel John B, George; Sallie married Baldwin L. Sisson, 
and Eleanor married Captain Thomas J. George. 

The children of Colonel George N. Pearis and his wife, Eliza- 
beth Howe Pearis, were : Captain George W., who never mar- 
ried, died in 1898 at the age of nearly eighty-nine years ; Colo- 
nel Daniel Howe, who married Louisa A. Johnston ; Rebecca, 
who married George D. Hoge; Nancy, who married Archer 
Edgar; Ardelia, who married Daniel R. Cecil, and Elizabeth, 
who married Benjamin White. Robert Alexander Pearis and 
his wife had no children, and after the death of said Robert 
Alexander, his widow married Colonel McClung. 

The children of Colonel Garland Gerald and Julia Pearis 
Gerald, his wife, were : Sons, Thomas, Robert, Pearis, Garland 
T. ; a daughter, Rebecca, married Dr. Edwin Grant ; Louisa 

married James M. Cunningham ; Mary married ; Fannie 

married a Mr. Yost; Virginia died in Texas, unmarried; 
Ophelia, married 

The children of Colonel John B. George and Rhoda Pearis 
George were: George Pearis George, who married Sarah A. 
Davidson ; Jane, who married Judge Sterling F. Watts. The 
names of the children of Captain Thomas J. George and wife 
are as follows, viz : A. P. G. George, W. W. George, Robert, 

448 New River Settlements 

and John; the daughters, Larissa, who married Jacob A. Peck; 
^latilda, who married a Mr. Austin, and Rebecca, who mar- 
ried (jieorge W. Jarrell. 

Charles Lewis Pearis and his wife, Margaret Peck Pearis, 
had but one child, a daughter, Electra, who married Dr. 
Charles W. Pearis, and they had no children. 

As already stated, John Brown and family went to Texas 
prior to 18»}6 ; some of his older sons were soldiers in the Texan 
army. Brown settled in that part of the state that became 
Collin County. George Pearis Brown, the son of John, re- 
mained in Virginia; he married a Miss Mahood, a sister of the 
late Judge Alexander Mahood, and he and his wife left numer- 
ous descendants, among them the wife of Mr. Robert Sanders, 
the wife of Edward A. Oney, the wife of M. W. Winfree, a son, 
Cornelius, who was killed on the retreat of the Confederates 
from the battlefield at Clark's house. May 1st, 1862. 

The elder Colonel George Pearis, the settler, was long a 
magistrate of Montgomery and Giles Counties, and sat in the 
courts of both counties, and was for a term the Presiding 
Magistrate of the latter county. The first court of the County 
of Giles was held in a house belonging to him, and the land for 
the county buildings and town was giyen by him and the town 
of Pearisburg took its name from him. He died on November 
4th, 1810, and his ashes repose in the burying ground on the 
farm on which he died, on the little hill just southwest of 
Pearisburg station. His widow married Philip Peters and she 
died April 15th, 1844. 

the peters family. 

John and Christian Peters were of a German family of that 
name, wiio had located in the Valley of Virginia shortly after 
1732. The place of the settlement was in the now County of 
Rockingham. The inscription on the tombstone of Christian 
Peters shows that he was born October lOth, 1760, and died 
October, 1837; it is possible that John was older. In 1781 the 

The Peters Family. 449 

British army under Lord Cornwallis invaded Virginia, finally 
fixing its base of oi^eration at Yorktown. In May of the year 
mentioned, the Governor of Virginia called out the militia of 
the state, placing them under the command of General Nelson, 
who joined and became a part of General LaFayette's corps, 
then operating against the army of Cornwallis. John and 
Christian Peters obeyed the call of the Governor and served 
through the campaign, and were at the surrender of Cornwallis 
at Yorktown, on October 19th ; the militia was then disband- 
ed and returned to their homes. The war, now regarded as end- 
ed, and the services of the militia no longer needed, John and 
Christian Peters, with their families, together with their 
brother-in-law, Charles Walker, in the spring of 1782, left their 
Valley homes, crossed the Alleghanies, and located in the New 
River Valley; John, on the farm on which Mr. Charles D. 
French now resides, and Christian where the village of Peters- 
town, named from him, is now situated. The two or three years 
immediately following the surrender of Cornwallis brought 
over the Alleghanies swarms of people, and while many of 
them went to Kentucky, a goodly number halted in the New 
River Valley. 

John Peters married Miss Simms, of that part of Rocking- 
ham that afterwards became Madison County. Christian 
Peters married Miss Katharine Belcher, of Rockingham, who 
soke the German language, and kept in her house her German 

The following are the names of the children of John Peters 
and wife : Elijah, William, John, Philip, Christian ; and 
daughters, one who married Henry Bailey; and Frances, who 
married Captain Christianos H. A. Walker, son of Charles, 
heretofore mentioned. 

The families of Conrad Peters, Captain John Peters, of 
Peterstown, and that of the late James M. Byrnside are de- 
scendants of Christian Peters. 

John Peters, Jr., the son of the settler, and who married 
Sallie Clay, daughter of the elder Mitchell, was the Captain of 

450 New River Settlements 

a company in the war with Great Britain of 1812; was long a 
Magistrate, and represented Giles County in the Legislature. 
The names of the sons of Captain John Peters and his wife, 
Sallie Clay Peters, are as follows: Oliver C. Peters, long an 
honored citizen of Giles County, dying at a ripe old age; An- 
drew J. Peters, Thompson H. Peters, William P. Peters, Jacob 
Peters, Augustus C. Peters; and two daughters by the second 
marriage, one of whom married Andrew Johnston, and Miss 
Jane, who never married. The grandsons and descendants of 
Captain John Peters were among the best, truest and bravest 
Confederate soldiers that fought for the South, among them 
James M. Peters, William D. Peters, John D. Peters and Wil- 
liam H. Peters. 


The Shannons came from Ireland at a period anterior to the 
beginning of our war for Independence, and located in what 
is now the County of Amherst, in Virginia, then probably Albe- 
marle County. Samuel, the New River Valley settler, came 
with his family over the Alleghanies in 1774, and located at 
the place now called Poplar Hill, in the then County of Fin- 
castle, now Giles County. After a residence of ten years, and 
after the marriage of his oldest son, whose name was Thomas, 
he, in the spring of 1784 (Shannon MSS.), with his family, 
except Thomas and his wife, who remained, removed to a point 
near whereon now stands the city of Nashville, Tennessee. 

Thomas married Miss Agnes Crowe, and continued in posses- 
sion of the Poplar Hill property, which is still in the hands of 
his descendants. He became a man of prominence in civil and 
military affairs ; was long a Magistrate of Giles County, Sheriff 
thereof, and a Representative in the Legislature. In the 
month of February, 1781, the British army advanced nortli- 
ward through the Carolinas toward Virginia, and Colonel 
William Preston, the military commandant of the Montgomery 
troops, and of which Joseph Cloyd was Major, called out the 

The Shannons of New River Valley. 451 

forces to go to the help of the American army commanded by 
General Greene. Thomas Shannon was the Captain of the 
Middle New River Company, in which one Alexander Marrs 
was a Lieutenant, and among the members thereof were Thomas 
Farley, Isaac Cole, Matthew French, John French, Joseph 
Hare, Edward Hale, the Clays, and others. Captain Shannon 
and his company joined the battalion at the New River Lead 
Mines about the middle of February, 1781, and on the 18th 
day of that month the command under Colonel Preston and 
Major Cloyd, 350 strong, marched to the Haw River section of 
North Carolina, in the vicinity of which was the army of Gen- 
eral Greene, as was that of Lord Cornwallis. Being in a 
strange country, and not being advised of the positions of the 
respective armies, Preston's men went into camp, finding them- 
selves the next morning between the combatants, and close by 
the British pickets. Colonel Preston had been ordered to re- 
port to General Pickena, and was on his way thither when he 
halted and camped between the armies. On the 2nd day of 
March Lee's Legion and Preston's battalion had a spirited en- 
counter with Tarleton's cavalry, inflicting upon it considerable 
loss. Again on the 6th of March, at Wetzel's Mills, Pickens' 
command, including Preston's and Cloyd's men, had quite a 
battle with the British advance. General Pickens retreated to 
Guilford Court House, where the troops of Preston and Camp- 
bell, under Colonel William Campbell, were posted on the 
American left, and put up a good fight. They were attacked 
by Colonel Tarleton, who led the British right wing, and he 
says in his ''His. of His Southern Campaign," that his troops 
were badly hurt by the Backwoodsmen from Virginia; that 
"they were behind a fence, and stood until the British infantry, 
with their bayonets, climbed the fence." Captain Shannon 
lived to the age of ninety years, leaving a son, Thomas, who 
married Julia Allen, and their children are : Thomas, Joseph, 
James R., all three of whom are dead; William R., who mar- 
ried a Miss Bush ; Nancy, now dead, who married John Hender- 
son Bane; Eliza, who married James B. Miller; and Samuel B., 

452 New River Settlements 

who resides on the old homestead. The second Thomas Shan- 
non served as a Magistrate in his county, and sat as a mem- 
ber of the County Court for long years, and was more than once 
a member of the Virginia Legislature. At the beginning of the 
Civil war in 1861 he was reckoned the wealthiest man in Giles 
County. His sons were all gallant Confederate soldiers. 

Opposite this page is seen the photograph of Mr. William 
R. Shannon, the great-grandson of the settler. 


This family is here designated as of ''New River," otherwise 
it might not be known to what family of Smiths reference is 
made, and hence, they are styled "The Smiths of New River." 
Isaac Smith was a soldier of the American Revolution, and 
served with the corps of LaFayette at Yorktown. He lived in 
that part of Rockingham Country' now embraced in Madison. 
The territory in which it is supposed and believed that he was 
born was then Augusta County, and was still Augusta when, 
in about 1770, he married Miss Simms. After the battle of 
Yorktown and the return of the Virginia militia to their homes 
Mr. Smith, together with several of his neighbors and rela- 
tions, in the year of 1782, passed over the Alleghanies into the 
New River Valley. Mr. Smith was brother-in-law to John 
Peters and Larkin Stowers, and they, together with Christian 
Peters, Charles Walker and others, came to New River. Smith 
settled on the Long Bottom on New River, nearly opposite the 
place of settlement of John Peters. Among the sons of Isaac 
Smith were : Ezekiel, Benjamine, and William, the latter born 
in 1774. Ezekiel went to Texas before the war for its inde- 
pendence, was captured by the Mexicans and kept a prisoner 
for five years. His son, French C. Smith, a man of talent and 
brilliancy, followed his father to Texas, and became a promi- 
nent figure in tliat state, having been the Whig candidate for 
Governor, but was defeated by General Sam Houston, the 
Democratic candidate, by a large majority. Benjamine Smith 

Grandson of Thomas Shannon, the Settler. 

The Snidows of New River Valley. 453 

lived in the County of Mercer and had several sons — among 
them Theodore, who went West — Thomas, and Allen, Dr. 
French W. Smith, of Bluefield, and Judge Charles W. Smith, 
of Princeton, West Virginia, are the grandsons of Benjamine 

Captain William Smith married a Mrs. Neal, whose maiden 
name was Dingess, a daughter of Peter Dingess, a Revolution- 
ary soldier, who served in Trigg's battalion of Montgomery 
County artillery in LaFayette's corps at the battle of York- 

Opposite page 454 will be seen the photograph of Captain 
William Smith, taken when he was a very old man. He lived 
to about the age of eighty-four. Mr. John B. Smith, of Willow- 
ton, in Mercer County, is a son of Mr. Benjamine Smith, and 
was a heroic and devoted Confederate soldier. 


This familA' is of German origin and the first of the family 
to come to America was Christian Snyder, who landed at Phil- 
adelphia in 1727. The record kept at the port of Philadelphia 
of the arrival of emigrants does not disclose that Christian 
brought a family with him ; if he had done so the same would 
have been recorded. He no doubt was a young man at the 
time, and had crossed the ocean to seek his fortune in the New 
World. The spelling of this name is no index as to who he 
was, as the original German spelling, is Schneider. It is spelled 
as originally also Snyder, Snider, Snido, and Snidow. There 
is, however, something in the use among these German people 
of the given name; as the same given names in families are 
handed down from one generation to another. In this family 
the name Christian seems to have been handed down for more 
than a hundred years. When, or who Christian Snidow mar- 
ried is not now known, but there came in 17G5 to New River, 
from Pennsylvania, John Snidow, who had married Elizabeth 
Helm ; he came to see tlie country, and visited Philip Lybrook 

454 New River Settlements 

at the month of Sinking Creek. It is likely, in fact more than 
probable, that Lybrook had been his neighbor in Pennsylvania. 
The circumstances show that he had made up his mind to set- 
tle in the New River Valley, as he went back to Pennsylvania 
and the next year, 17G6, started for the New River with his 
family, and on the way was taken suddenly and violently ill 
and died. His widow, Mrs. Elizabeth, witli her children, some 
of them very small, made her way to Philip Lyb rook's, or to 
his neighborhood. The exact place of her settlement is difficult 
to locate, but from circumstances it is believed that she made 
her home near the mouth of Sinking Creek, in what is now 
Giles County. Mrs. Snidow's family consisted of five sons and 
three daughters; the sons, Philip, Christian, John, Theophilus, 
and Jacob; daughters, Barbara, and two small girls, killed by 
the Indians in 1774. 

Philip married Barbara Prillman, Christian married Mary 
Burke, Jacob married, first, Clara Burke, second, Miss Pickel- 
simon, and third, Mary Hankey ; John was killed, being thrown 
from a horse; Theophilus, when quite a lad, w^as captured by 
the Indians in 1774, and after being detained in captivity a 
number of years returned in bad health, and soon died; Bar- 
bara, the daughter, married Jacob Prillman, of Franklin 
County. Among the children of Barbara Prillman Snidow, 
was Christian, called the Blacksmith, to distinguish him from 
his uncle. Colonel Christian. 

The children of Colonel Christian Snidow and his wife, Mary 
Burke Snidow, were: Sons, John, Lewis, and William H. ; the 
daughters were, Elizabeth, Mary, Rebecca, Clara, Nancy and 
Sallie. John married Rachael Chapman, daughter of Isaac 
and Elian Johnston Chapman; their children were. Christian, 
James H., David J. L., I'.lizabeth, Mary, I^lian C, and Ellen J. 

Lewis Snidow married Barbara, the daughter of the black 
smith. Christian, and his wife, Sarah Turner Snidow; their 
children are, William Henry Harrison and George Lewis; the 
latter married Josephine Snidow ; the former unmarried. After 

GAPT. Wm. smith 

Born 1Z74. Died 1859. 

The Snidows of New River Valley. 455 

the death of Lewis Snidow his widow, Barbara, married Jacob 
Douthat, by whom she had several children. 

William H. Snidow married Adeline Chapman, daughter of 
John Chapman ; the names of their children are : John Chap- 
man Snidow, now dead; James Piper Snidow and Annie, the 
latter now dead, and who married Dr. Harvey G. Johnston. 

Elizabeth, the daughter of Colonel Christian Snidow, mar- 
ried John Peck, of Giles County; Mary married Major Henry 
Walker, of Botetourt, later of Mercer County; Rebecca mar- 
ried Benjamine Peck, of Monroe County; Clara married Con- 
rad Peters, of Monroe County; Nancy married James Harvey, 
of Monroe County ; Sallie married Haven Bane, of Giles Coun- 
ty. Among the descendants of John Peck and his wife, Eliza- 
beth, are, in part the Pecks of Giles, the Vawters of Monroe, 
the Kelleys of Smyth, the McNutts of Mercer, and the Pecks 
of Logan County, West Virginia. 

Some of the descendants of Major Henry Walker and wife 
reside in Mercer County; the descendants of Benjamine Peck 
reside in Monroe, Mercer, Giles, and in the State of Kansas. 
The descendants of James Harvey and wife reside in Monroe 
County, among them, the Adairs of Red Sulphur, and the fam- 
ily of the late Allen Harvey. 

Colonel Christian Snidow, when quite a young man, was a 
lieutenant in Captain John Floyd's company, and did service 
in Barger's, Snidow's and Hatfield's forts, and in scouts and 
skirmishes with the Indians. His father-in-law, Captain 
Thomas Burke, born 1741 and died 1808, and whose wife's given 
name was Clara, was also a Captain in the Indian wars, and 
at one time in command at Hatfield's Fort. Colonel Christian 
Snidow was for long years a Justice of the Peace, in both Mont- 
gomery and Giles Counties; was Sherifif of Giles County, and 
frequently represented the same in the House of Delegates of 
Virginia. Among his descendants were some of the best and 
bravest soldiers in the Confederate army. 

456 New River Settlements 

the new river straleys. 

Jacob Straley (German, Stralile) was a German, born at 
Frankfort-on-the-Main, in Germany; his wife was Susan Har- 
bor, whom he married in Germany, and came directly after his 
marriage to America, in 1758, and found his way to James 
River, where the city of Lynchburg now stands. Jacob Straley 
had a brother John, who came over to America with him, and 
they are supposed to have landed in New York; John had a 
wife and several children. 

Jacob came South with other emigrants to Virginia, and 
John went into Pennsylvania; separating, they lost sight of 
each other and seem never to have heard of each other after 
their separation. Jacob, as before stated, found his way to 
where Lynchburg now stands; there he bought land of his 
brother-in-law, Jacob Lynch, and here the children of Jacob 
Straley and his wife, Susan, were born, to-wit: Andrew, 
Elizabeth, Catherine and Jacob. Jacob Straley and his wife 
Susan both died and were buried at Lynchburg. Andrew was 
twice married, but had no family; he was a soldier of the 
American Revolution, and Jacob, his brother, a youth of about 
sixteen at the close of the Revolution, served in what was called 
the Reserves, or Home Guards. Elizabeth married a man by 
the name of Caldwell, by whom she had two or three children ; 
her husband died, she then married a man by the name of 
Marshall Burton, by whom she had a son called Isaac, who 
married a Snodgrass, and who left a son. Green, living now in 
Giles County, and three daughters, Lucretia, who married 
McCauley; Sallie, who married Albert, and the name of the 
husband of Jane is not known. Catherine Straley, daughter 
of the elder Straley, went to Kentucky. 

Jacob Straley, son of the elder Jacob, was a brickmason by 
trade, and about the year of 1782 came to New River, in what 
is now Giles County, and in June, 1785, married Martha French, 
daughter of Matthew and Sallie Payne French, by whom he had 
nine sons and two daughters. His sons were: James, Daniel, 
John, David, Charles, Jacob, French, Joseph and Leland; the 

The New River Straleys. 457 

daughters were Sallie and Nancy. James married Betsey 
Vaught, Daniel married Mary French, John married Betsey 
Wilson, Charles married Betsey McComas, Jacob L. married 
Eliza Bergen, French died unmarried; Joseph married Jane 
Brown, David married Elizabeth Perkins, Leland died young 
and unmarried, Sallie married Isaac French, and Nancy mar- 
ried Edward Morgan. 

James Straley and his wife had one son, Madison, and six 
daughters: Martha, who married Joseph Summers; Talitha, 
who married Hampton Brown ; Almira, who married George C. 
Stafford; Rebecca, who married James H. Wilburne; Serilda, 
who married John Stafford, and Maharald, who married James 
P. Thorn. 

Daniel Straley and his wife, Mary, had two sons and two 
daughters ; the sons were James F. and Jacob C, both of whom 
died childless; Julia T. married Colonel James M. Bailey, of 
Mercer County, and by him had five children, two sons and 
three daughters. The sons, Gaston C. and Daniel M., and 
daughters, Lizzie, died unmarried; Belle, married James D. 
Honaker, and Alice married a Mr. Lee. 

Sallie F. married Elijah Bailey and had two children, Robert 
H. and Mary J. 

John Straley and Elizabeth, his wife, had two sons and six 
daughters; the sons, Charles D. and Harrison W. ; the daugh- 
ters, Louisa, married Claudius Burdett; Araminta, married 
Elijah Bailey; Dorcas, married Benjamine Tinsley; Martha, 
married Andrew J. Davis; Harriet, married J. McThompson; 
Valeria, married John Q. Spangler. Charles D. Straley died 
in 1890, unmarried; Louisa has a large family; Dorcas, Ara- 
minta and Martha have no children ; Harriet has two children ; 
Valeria has three living children. Harrison W. Straley, now 
dead, married Delia A. Byrnside, who died in May, 1888, and 
by her he had four children who reached their majority. 

Charles Straley, by his wife Betsey, had nine children, and 
by his second marriage with Miss Warneck, whom he married 

458 New River Settlements 

in the State of Illinois, had one son, Hugh. Charles Straley 
removed to Texas, where he died. 

Jacob Lynch Straley and his wife, Eliza, had three children, 
all daughters. Margaret married a Mr. Eldridge, of Tennes- 
see; Caladonia married Joseph Taylor, and Sallie married 
David C. Straley, son of Joseph. Jacob L. Straley was a 
minister of the Methodist Church. Joseph Straley and his wife 
Jane had but two children, William D. and David C. 

David Straley and Elizabeth, his wife, had two sons and 
three daughters. The sons were: Granville P. and David B., 
the latter dying young; the former is a lawyer by profession, 
and lives in Maury County, Tennessee. The daughters, Martha 
T., married Dr. George A. Long, now dead; Mary, married 
Girard Willis, of Chattanooga, Tennessee, both being now 
dead. Sallie married Mr, Anderson, and they live in South 

Sallie Straley married Isaac French, and had two children : 
Harvey and Elizabeth, both dead. Harvey never married; 
Elizabeth married Oscar F. Johnston. 

Nancy Straley, who married Edward Morgan, had four sons 
and three daughters; the sons are, Rufus, John, Newton, and 
Joseph ; and the daughters, Martha, who married Mr. Noff- 
singer; Virginia, who married Richard Gilliam, and Sallie, 
who died young and